Story updated at 5:00 AM
JOHNSTON — Governor Kim Reynolds is ordering more businesses to close and adding another week to previous restrictions designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
In addition to bars, restaurants and hair salons that have already been closed, Reynolds has ordered more retail stores that sell things like books, clothes, shoes, flowers and furniture to close. All those business closures will now be in place through April 7th.
“We will continue to take additional steps, as necessary, to further protect the health of Iowans and our economy,” Reynolds said Thursday afternoon during her daily news conference.
The governor previously ordered bars and restaurants closed at noon on March 17th. She added hair and nail salons and swimming pools to the closure list earlier this week, with the closings to last through March 31st. The closures, by the governor’s new decree, now extend through Tuesday, April 7.
“I wanted to make sure that we were giving businesses enough notice and so that’s one of the reasons that we thought we would go ahead and just extend for another week beyond what I originally did,” Reynolds said. “But, everyday, I need Iowans and businesses to know that we’re reevaluating those metrics and seeing what they look like and talking about what we need to do next and that went into the decisions that we made.”
The governor has also used her emergency authority to order the suspension of all elective surgeries and dental visits, unless it’s an emergency situation.
“These actions will help us preserve the personal protection equipment as well as our health care workforce,” Reynolds said.
State officials today reported 34 more cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Iowa, for a total of 179 positive cases.
“We haven’t actually made it through the first incubation period,” Reynolds said this afternoon, “and so we haven’t even really been able to gather the data about the decisions that we made early on to see if we have started to bend the curve.”
Reynolds said because of that, she cannot speculate on when the business closures she’s ordered will be lifted.
“We have said all along that basically we have put a lot of policies in place to protect our most vulnerable and make sure that we don’t see a surge on our health care system,” Reynolds said, “and that’s really what’s driven the decisions we’ve made.”
The latest round of business closures does not apply to discount stores, grocery stores or pharmacies.
Read the full proclamation below:
Public Health Proclamation – 2020.03.26