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Gov. Reynolds issues State of Public Health Disaster Emergency

DES MOINES -  Gov. Reynolds issued a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency activating the public health response and recovery aspects of the State Disaster Emergency Plan.

This will go into effect at noon Tuesday and will last until at least March 31.

It takes significant steps to require social distancing and limit community spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus by implementing temporary measures.

This includes moving restaurants to drive-through, carry-out, and delivery only and closures of certain businesses such as bars and recreational facilities.

The proclamation also allows state agencies additional flexibility in responding to the unprecedented COVID-19 situation.

“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 the proclamation, Gov. Reynolds declared all restaurants and bars are hereby closed to the general public. Food and beverages can still be sold so long as they are taken from the premises such as on a carry-out or drive-through basis.

"This is tough for any business, but a new business in the first year of operation is definitely a hard thing to try and handle," Marto Brewing Owner and Brewer Erik Martin said. "We are going to adjust and try to do what we can to try and survive. We are going to offer to go orders. Give us a call here at the brewery or order online and possibly move into a delivery service sometime soon."

Martin said one of the top concerns is their employees and he said they are going to do what they can to keep all on staff.

All fitness centers, health clubs, health spas, gyms, aquatic centers are hereby also closed.

Gov. Reynolds also closed all theaters or other performance venues. She also declared all casinos and wagering or gaming operations closed.

The closures also include facilities that conduct adult day services or other senior citizen centers.

In terms of mass gatherings, Reynolds says all community, social, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure and sporting gatherings of more than 10 people are hereby prohibited at all locations and venues.

This includes parades, festivals, conventions and fundraisers. Planned large gatherings and events must be canceled or postponed until after the termination of this disaster declaration.

Read the full text of the proclamation below:

WHEREAS, the World Health Organization has reported an outbreak of thousands of cases of Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) in multiple countries, causing illness and deaths; and

WHEREAS, on January 31, 2020, the United States Department of Health and Human Services declared a national public health emergency; and

WHEREAS, on March 9, 2020, a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency was issued to coordinate the State of Iowa’s response to this outbreak and such disaster continues to exist; and

WHEREAS, on March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic; and

WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, President Donald J. Trump issued a proclamation declaring that the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States constitutes a national emergency; and

WHEREAS, multiple cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Iowa, and the Iowa Department of Public Health has determined that community spread of COVID-19 is occurring within our state; and

WHEREAS, reports forwarded by local public health officials and state public health officials indicate that local resources and capacities are being exhausted and state assistance and resources are necessary to respond to and recover from the effects of this public health disaster; and

WHEREAS, local jurisdictions may not have sufficient personnel and other resources to effectively conduct epidemiologic investigations of infectious disease outbreaks, provide medical care, and respond to health threats; and

WHEREAS, COVID-19 can spread person-to-person and poses a possibility of causing severe illness in certain populations and disability and/or death to certain Iowans.  Likewise, reports forwarded by federal, state, and local officials indicate that state assistance is needed to manage and contain this outbreak; and

WHEREAS, the risk of transmission of COVID-19 may be substantially reduced by separating and restricting the movement of persons known or suspected to have the disease, or who have been exposed to those known or suspected to have the disease; and 

WHEREAS, the risk of transmission of COVID-19 may be substantially reduced by community containment strategies that may include temporarily closing schools in affected communities and other public venues; and

WHEREAS, strict compliance with the provision of the Iowa Code and Iowa Administrative Code requiring a certificate of need prior to an institutional health facility operating additional bed capacity will also prevent or hinder efforts to contain this public health disaster.

WHEREAS, strict compliance with the provisions of Iowa law which establish preconditions or which would otherwise limit or restrict the provision of telehealth or telemedicine services and those which require face-to-face interactions with health care providers and requirements for residential and outpatient treatment and face-to-face visitations, would prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with this disaster in all counties of our state. 

WHEREAS, strict compliance with the provisions of Iowa law which prohibit the practice of medicine and surgery, osteopathic medicine and surgery, nursing, respiratory care, and practice as a physician assistant, with an inactive or lapsed license would prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with this disaster in all counties of our state.

WHEREAS, strict compliance with the provisions of Iowa Code § 29C.6 (6), I temporarily suspend the regulatory provisions of Iowa Code § 256.16(1)(a)(2)(d) and (m) and Iowa Admin. Code rules 281-77.10 (9), 281-79.14(5), and 281-79.14(7) that require a minimum number of hours of field experience in a practitioner preparation program provided by a higher education institution would prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with this disaster in all counties of our state.

WHEREAS, strict compliance with the regulatory provisions of Iowa Code §§ 321.174A, 321.196, 321.39, 321.46, 321.25 regarding driver’s license, title, and vehicle registration requirements would prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with this disaster in all counties of our state.

WHEREAS, strict compliance with the permit and fee requirements of Iowa Code § 321E.29 and Iowa Admin. Code chapter 761-511 allowing oversize and overweight divisible loads under certain circumstances will prevent or hinder efforts to cope with this disaster in all counties of our state.

WHEREAS, strict compliance with the requirements of Iowa Code § 455C.3 (1) and Iowa Admin. Code chapter 567-107 that such dealers must accept empty beverage containers on which an Iowa deposit was made will prevent or hinder efforts to cope with this disaster in all counties of our state.

Gov. Reynolds' Proclamation.
Author Profile Photo

Dean Welte

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