Restaurants receive IDPH guidance about reopening

Governor’s Invest in Iowa proposal “on hold”

The number of cases of COVID-19 in Iowa continues to increase even as residents in three-fourths of Iowa’s counties look forward to relaxing some of the mitigation requirements put in place last month.

Gov Kim Reynolds started her daily press briefing with the news that there were 508 new positive cases of the illness in the 24 hours preceding Monday at 10 am. The numbers justify the selection of which counties will see their economies start to open Friday.

According to Reynolds, 98 percent of the new positive cases are in the 22 counties where all restrictions have been extended past May 1.

A total of 39,823 Iowans have been tested for COVID-19. That’s one in every 79 Iowans, Reynolds said.

She reported seven new outbreaks of the disease in long term care centers, including at the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown.

Nine additional deaths were reported for a total of 136 deaths. Four Polk County residents died – three adults age 81 or older and an adult age 61-80. Other seniors who died lived Black Hawk, Muscatine and Story County. Two older adults age 61-80 died in Linn County, and one person aged 61-80 died in Polk County.

Reynolds’ briefing highlighted new guidance for restaurants and farmers markets from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals and the Iowa Department of Public Health. Restauranteurs have been advised to consider reservation-only dining and to screen not only employees, but diners, too, before they enter the restaurant.

The Iowa Statehouse will reconvene Friday to complete the work of the 2020 legislative session. Gov Reynolds’ Invest in Iowa proposal appeared to have a strong likelihood of being approved when the session started.

Invest in Iowa would have increased the state sales tax by one cent while decreasing state income tax by 10 percent for most Iowans and 20 percent for lower income Iowans.

Reynolds was asked at the Tuesday COVID-19 briefing about a revised budget proposal she plans to submit. She answered, “In light of everything we’re facing right now, it’s really too early to see the impact of COVID-19. We’re monitoring that very closely. We’re fortunate that our cash reserves are strong, that we had strong fiscal health going into COVID-19. But it’s going to require all of us to revisit our budgets… that probably means that Invest in Iowa is going to have to be put on hold.”

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