BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
JOHNSTON – With Iowans returning to movie theaters last week, now casinos and outdoor racing are among the next group of businesses to be allowed to reopen under state guidelines.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said during Tuesday’s daily press conference from the state’s Emergency Operations Center in Johnston that all the indicators the state uses to ratchet up the state’s economy are trending in positive directions.
“Today I’m announcing the existing disaster emergency proclamation is extended to June 25th with some changes to public health measures,” Reynolds said.
“Live bands are now permitted but they must also practice social distancing and effective June 1 additional businesses, speedways and outdoor performance venues, and casinos and gaming facilities can reopen, all at 50% of normal business capacity.”
Reynolds said communities across the state are seeing life is getting back to normal and business owners are taking their responsibilities seriously.
“Iowa is on the road to recovery and for most businesses recovery has meant starting small and featuring a new type of customer service,” Reynolds said.
“And for some Iowa families recovery means an opportunity to go back to work and have the dignity of of earning a paycheck again.”
Other new relaxed guidelines are that group gatherings are allowed for more than 10 people as long as social distancing is kept in place and venues operate at 50% normal capacity.
One of the biggest change is that moratorium on evictions, foreclosures and debt collection will lifted on Thursday.
Reynolds said state economic development officials are working on some assistance packages to help those who have had income impacted by the coronavirus and are still having trouble meeting their obligations.
She said Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham will be on hand during a press conference later this week to outline details of the program, but Reynolds said tenants and home owners should continue to make their payments.
She said there won’t be much of a lag time for Iowans who need help.
“We’re working through the final details and it’s close to being complete now. We anticipate it being in ready by Friday,” she said.
According to data through Friday, Reynolds said 84,000 Iowans have been tested in May. She said overall Iowa has shown a positive rate just over 13%, but yesterday’s total with the increased testing was just 6 percent.
“Iowans, you’re a big part of that. Keep doing what your doing. You’re being personally responsible and businesses are doing the right thing and because of that were going to continue to move forward and get our lives back to normal, or some sense of normalcy.
Reynolds said she was also meeting with Iowa State Fair officials this week to get a sense of where officials governing that event are at with holding the fair this year.