Iowa Gov. Kim Reynods has issued a state of public health disaster emergency effective at noon today until April 16 that implements steps requiring social distancing and limiting community spread of COVID-19.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, those steps include temporary requirements that restaurants move to drive-thru, take out and delivery services only. Bars, fitness centers, theaters, casinos, senior centers and other recreational facilities must also close.
Gatherings of more than 10 people are also prohibited.
The restrictions applying to restaurants, bars, certain other businesses and gatherings are in effect through 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,” Gov. Reynolds stated in the press release. “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 Iowa Department of Public Health has determined that community spread of COVID-19 is happening and has confirmed multiple cases in the state.
No confirmed cases have been reported in Clay County or in neighboring counties as of Tuesday morning.
The governor’s proclamation gives state agencies more flexibility in how they can respond to the ever-changing COVID-19 situation. The press release states the proclamation also supports the critical work of public health.
What the state of disaster emergency proclamation includes
In addition to the restrictions placed on certain businesses and public gatherings, the governor’s proclamation temporarily:
- Suspends institutional health facility’s need to obtain a certificate of need before operating prior bed capacity.
- Suspends certain regulations that place preconditions, limitations or restrictions on telehealth and telemedicine.
- Allows drivers to operate vehicles without having to renew their licenses if their driver’s licenses have expired within 60 days of the proclamation.
- Allows for vehicles with expired vehicle registration, registration cards and registration plates that have expired within 60 days of the proclamation.
- Allows for some health professionals whose licenses are inactive or lapsed within five years prior to the proclamation to provide “medical and nursing care and treatment of victims of this public health disaster emergency” for the duration of the proclamation.
- Suspends regulations requiring a minimum number of field experience hours if a higher education institution that is providing practitioner preparation programming determines a student has completed enough field experience to be recommended for obtaining a license.
- Removes restrictions of and permit requirements for movement for oversize and overweight loads of food, medical supplies, cleaning products and other household goods.
Additional details of the proclamation can be found at the governor’s office website.