Restaurants, bars to close in Iowa after State Disaster Emergency Plan issued by Gov. Reynolds

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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) – Governor Kim Reynolds issued a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency Plan Tuesday morning.

The emergency activates the public health response and recovery aspects of the State Disaster Emergency Plan effective noon Tuesday, March 17 through March 31.

The plan takes significant steps to require social distancing and limit community spread of the virus by implementing temporary measures.

Restaurants will be moved to to drive-through, carry-out, and delivery only and certain entities such as bars and recreational facilities will be closed.

The proclamation also allows state agencies additional flexibility in responding to the unprecedented COVID-19 situation, and supports the critical work of public health. 

“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,” said Gov. Reynolds. “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.”

In conjunction with the Iowa Department of Health, the following closures are to take effect across Iowa.

Restaurants and Bars: All Restaurants and Bars are hereby closed to the general public except that to the extent permitted by applicable law, and in accordance with any recommendations of the Iowa Department of Public Health, food and beverages may be sold if such food or beverages are promptly taken from the premises, such as on a carry-out or drive-through basis, or if the food or beverage is delivered to customers off the premises.

Fitness Center: All fitness centers, health clubs, health spas, gyms, aquatic centers are hereby closed.

Theaters: All theaters or other performance venues at which live performances or or motion pictures are shown are hereby closed.

Casinos and Gaming Facilities: All casinos and other facilities conducting pari-mutuel wagering or gaming operations are hereby closed.

Mass Gathering: Social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events of more than 10 people are hereby prohibited at all locations and venues, including but not limited to parades, festivals, conventions, and fundraisers. Planned large gatherings and events must be canceled or postponed until after termination of this disaster.

Senior Citizen Centers and Adult Daycare Facilities:  All facilities that conduct adult day services or other senior citizen centers are hereby closed.

To read the full release, view or download the file below or visit governor.iowa.gov.


The CDC said that most COVID-19 illnesses are mild, but about 16% of cases are serious. Older people or those with underlying health conditions are most at risk of developing a serious illness.

Symptoms for the virus include fever, cough and shortness of breath. They occur 2-14 days after exposure. Anyone that develops the symptoms and has been in contact with some who has the virus or has recently traveled from where the virus is widespread is asked to see a doctor.

To help prevent the spread, people are asked to do the following:

  • Wash their hands often
  • Avoid close contact
  • Stay home if sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

Below are various health organizations with information on COVID-19.

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