Gov. Kim Reynolds orders bars and restaurants to sell carry-out and drive-through only, gyms to close


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Jake Webster

All theaters, gyms, casinos, senior centers and adult daycare facilities are ordered to close at noon on March 17 in Iowa, while all bars and restaurants were ordered to only serve food in a carry-out and drive-through capacity beginning at the same time according to a proclamation signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

These measures will remain in place until 11:59 p.m. March 31.

“These are unprecedented times and the state of Iowa will do whatever is necessary to address this public health disaster. I have authorized all available state resources, supplies, equipment and materials to combat the spread of COVID-19,” Reynolds said in a statement. “The actions taken today are necessary to protect the health and safety of all Iowans and are critical to mitigating the spread of the virus.”

The governor issued a “State of Public Health Disaster Emergency” in this proclamation. The proclamation also allows state agencies flexibility in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release.

The disaster proclamation shall expire on April 16 at 11:59 p.m. unless sooner terminated or extended in writing by the governor.

Other states including New York, Pennsylvania, California and Colorado had previously taken similar measures in ordering bars and restaurants closed to in-person dining in recent days. Iowa’s actions to close public facilities and eateries to attempt to slow the spread of the disease follows a recommendation from the governor that schools should close for four weeks.

The proclamation included a provision relating to mass gatherings in general.

“Social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events of more than 10 people are hereby prohibited at all locations and venues, including but not limited to parades, festivals, conventions, and fundraisers,” according to the proclamation. “Planned large gatherings and events must be canceled or postponed until after termination of this disaster.”