Gov. Reynolds announces new COVID-19 restrictions, including indoor mask requirements

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced new restrictions on certain activities due to COVID-19, along with mandating mask usage for most indoor circumstances.
Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 6:34 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2020 at 8:37 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a new public health proclamation regarding COVID-19 on Monday evening, including new rules regarding when masks are required in public places in the state.

The proclamation, which is in effect starting 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday until December 10, includes a section stating that any person two years of age or older must use a mask or face covering when inside an indoor space that is open to the public where they are within six feet of individuals outside of their household for at least 15 minutes at a time. The requirement applies to both private-owned locations and state buildings.

The mask requirement does not apply to persons with a medical condition or disability that would prevent them wearing a mask, when working alone in a space with social distancing, when a person is consuming food or drink in an establishment, for athletes in competition or a person engaged in physical exercise, persons in a religious, educational, artistic, or cultural presentation or performance, a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, when a service being provided requires the temporary removal of a mask, when a person is asked to show their identity, or for public safety officers.

The mask requirement also does not apply to in-person instruction for schools, according to a clarification from the governor’s office.

Indoor gatherings will be limited to 15 people or less by the proclamation, including weddings, funerals, family gatherings, festivals, conventions, and other “nonessential” gatherings. The restriction on occupancy does not apply to meetings or gatherings in an office or workplace environment, or for normal retail operations. Similarly, outdoor gatherings will be limited to 30 people or less.

Spiritual or religious gatherings are explicitly not prohibited by the proclamation, though organizers or hosts of such gatherings should take “reasonable measures under the circumstances” to implement social distancing and increased hygiene practices.

Restaurants and bars must close to the public at 10:00 p.m. each day, and reopen no earlier than 6:00 a.m. Carry-out services are still able to be provided after the 10:00 p.m. closure deadline. When an establishment is open, each group of no more than eight people, or individuals alone, must be separated by at least six feet. An exception for the social distancing requirement is if a booth has a tall barrier between them. Food and drink must be consumed while seated.

Masks will be required in all bars and restaurants while not seated at a socially-distanced table or booth. This requirement also applies to all employees who interact with customers. The establishment must also take advanced cleaning steps to limit the spread of the virus.

Sporting events or recreational gatherings of all sizes are prohibited, except for high school, collegiate, or professional sports. Individual recreational activities are not affected by the proclamation.

Spectators at high school sporting or extracurricular events are limited to two people for each student involved. Those spectators can only be present when the student is actively involved in a competition. Groups of spectators must be spaced at least six feet apart in the venue. Masks must be worn by spectators, but are not required for the students involved in the sport or activity.

Fitness centers can remain open, but all group fitness classes are canceled. Social distancing must be required for all equipment or workout stations. Cleaning steps must also be taken.

Casinos must also require masks for patrons and employees and ensure the proper six-feet distance between gamblers. Restrictions that were outlined for bars and restaurants also apply to such establishments within a casino.

Senior centers or adult daycare facilities can be open but only if they follow guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Public Health on hygiene practices.

Salons, barbershops, massage establishments, tattoo shops, and tanning facilities may remain open, but also must follow the mask requirement and social distancing requirements outlined for other businesses.

Bowling alleys, pool halls, bingo halls, arcades, indoor playgrounds, and children’s play centers must close at 10:00 p.m. and stay closed until 6:00 a.m. While open, groups are limited to no more than eight people, and cannot host private gatherings, or leagues and tournaments, larger than 15 people indoors or 30 people outdoors. Masks will also be required unless a person is seated at a properly-distanced booth or table.

Theaters, performance venues, and race tracks can stay open, but must ensure social distancing between groups or individuals of at least six feet.

Malls must keep their indoor play areas or playgrounds closed, with social distancing measures implemented and hygiene practices implemented. Museums, aquariums, zoos, libraries, swimming pools, amusement parks, campgrounds, or other retail establishments can remain open under similar guidelines for distancing and hygiene.

Inpatient surgeries that would pose a significant risk to the quality of life of the patient if delayed, and outpatient surgeries and procedures, may be conducted if the hospital has adequate supplies of personal protective equipment and access to a supply chain to get more PPE when needed and have a testing strategy for patients including a negative test for surgery patients within 72 hours of the procedure.

Hospitals must also continue to take in COVID-19 patients for treatment, and may not transfer a patient with COVID-19 to make room for patients getting elective procedures. Hospitals must reserve at least 10% of their intensive care unit and medical/surgical beds for patients with COVID-19. In addition, the total number of beds used for inpatient nonessential surgeries must be no more than 50% of the total number of beds used, on average, in September 2020.

If a hospital cannot fulfill the requirements in the previous paragraph, they must suspend those surgeries or procedures until they can meet the requirements.

Otherwise, nonessential or elective surgeries that require the use of protective personal equipment that fall outside of the outlined requirements may not be conducted by a healthcare provider during the duration of the proclamation, unless the procedure is needed to prevent risk to the quality of life of the patient if it were delayed.

Various state agencies will have the authority to implement the outlined restrictions, per the proclamation.

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