Gov. Reynolds eases COVID restrictions

Thursday, December 24, 2020

DES MOINES — Governor Kim Reynolds announced some minor modifications to the health proclamation which is in effect through Jan. 8, 2021.

Bars and restaurants will now be able to resume their normal hours of operation. Under the prior guidelines, these establishments could not sell food or beverages on their premises after 10 p.m.

Reynolds said she wants to balance the lives and livelihoods of Iowans as she eases the restrictions after cases have subsided from a peak of a 14-day rolling total of nearly 60,000 on Nov. 17 to the most recent number of just under 21,000.

Reynolds was asked if easing the restrictions was the right thing to do as the the state looks to avoid another spike with Christmas and New Year’s celebrations coming up.

“I think Iowans have stepped up and done the right thing and I believe they’ll continue to make the right decisions,” Reynolds said. “We are so close to seeing the end of this and I think they know that. They see there is light at the end of the tunnel and they recognize the fact that they just need to hang on a little bit longer. Again, I believe that we struck the right balance. It’s the right thing to do. We’ll continue to monitor it.”

Reynolds pointed to numbers showing a statewide average positivity rate of 13.8 percent over the last 14 days, along with national statistics showing Iowa 36th out of the 50 states in average daily cases per 100,000 over the last seven days. She added that hospitalizations are half of what they were a month ago.

“While cases still remain high across the country, we’ve continued to see an overall decline since mid-November and even further stabilization over the past week,” Reynolds said.

Another modification to the health proclamation will allow all household members to attend a high school-sponsored sporting or extracurricular event for each student or staff member participating in the activity. Previously, only two spectators could be designated for those participating.

Reynolds also provided an update on the vaccination effort. She stated about 500 healthcare workers have received the vaccine so far. In the coming weeks, the coronavirus.iowa.gov website will begin including vaccination numbers along with the other statistics.

Plymouth County has had 101 positive cases within the last week with a 14 percent positivity rate. There have been 3,150 total confirmed cases in the county since the pandemic began along with 42 deaths.