JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) — Iowa restaurants and bars may return to normal business hours but patrons must still wear masks when not seated for eating or drinking, and groups must be at least six feet from one another, according to a new proclamation announced Wednesday by Gov. Kim Reynolds.
The restriction on the number of people who may gather at one time is lifted but groups or individuals must distance themselves from one another. Reynolds is also relaxing rules over attendance at high school, youth and adult sports events, allowing members of a participant’s household to attend.
Reynolds’ revised coronavirus pandemic emergency proclamation, which takes effect Thursday morning, follows an overall decline in the spread of the virus and hospitalizations in Iowa in the past month.
“The virus is still circulating in our communities and across the state but if we continue to control the things that we can control and do our part to prevent another surge, there’s no reason we can’t effectively live with COVID-19 a little longer,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds said the first shipment of Pfizer vaccines arrived Monday in Iowa, and as of Tuesday 500 health care workers have been vaccinated. After health care workers, the state has prioritized residents of long-term care facilities and workers there.
On Wednesday morning, the state reported an additional 14 deaths and 1,986 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours.