DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday she'll let bars, breweries and taverns in four counties reopen, less than three weeks after she order them closed after a surge in coronavirus cases.
In a proclamation that is effective Wednesday, Reynolds said bars may reopen in Black Hawk, Dallas, Linn and Polk counties. Restaurants in those counties may also resume serving alcohol without the restrictions she implemented on Aug. 27.
Bars must remain closed in Johnson and Story counties, where the University of Iowa and Iowa State University are located. Restaurants in those counties must still stop selling alcohol at 10 p.m., according to the new proclamation, which will be effective at least until Sept. 20.
Those campus areas have continued to have high virus spread rates that Reynolds has attributed to young adults gathering in bars and other locations without masks or adequate distancing.
Restaurants in all Iowa counties must ensure at least 6 feet of distance between groups or individuals dining alone unless seating is separated by a barrier.
Reynolds' new proclamation strongly encourages Iowans to wear face masks but doesn't require masks.
The state Health Department reported 12 people died in the past 24 hours as of 10 a.m. Tuesday, and there were 508 new confirmed coronavirus cases. Iowa now has more than 75,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and has seen 1,233 deaths since March.