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Iowa museums, aquariums, zoos now able to reopen at full capacity

Published: Jun. 14, 2020 at 6:28 PM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Starting Friday, June 12, museums, aquariums, and zoos in Iowa were allowed to reopen at full capacity, and at least one venue said it experienced an increase in traffic over the weekend.

The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque said its staff and animals were glad to have more visitors back after reopening at 50% capacity two weeks ago. Until then, the museum had been closed more than two months because of the coronavirus.

The state is still requiring museums to keep measures in place to ensure social distancing. A June 10 proclamation from Gov. Kim Reynolds that lifted capacity restrictions for museums, aquariums, and zoos also did so for other Iowa businesses, including restaurants, bars, theaters, and libraries.

The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium has markers on the floor to encourage groups to space themselves apart, and staff said they’re frequently cleaning and wiping down the areas of the museum that people like to touch.

“We’re offering those sanitization methods of gloves, if they need it as they walk around just to have that extra safety precaution, just so that people feel comfortable and realize that it’s OK to get out and to kind of enjoy this stuff again,” Museum Store Manager Mark Girardy said.

In the two weeks it had been limited to 50% capacity, the museum had used a timed entry system to limit how many people could come in each half-hour, but Girardy said they never had to turn anyone away.

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