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Posted on: November 17, 2020

Iowa Governor Issues Updated Public Health Proclamation

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On November 16, 2020, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds issued a new public health proclamation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. This is effective from 12:01 a.m. on November 17 until 11:59 p.m. on December 10, 2020, and includes the following:

Masks: All people over the age of two must wear a face covering or mask in a public indoor space or inside a state government building, office, or facility under the control of the Executive Branch when they are within six feet of individuals who are not members of their household for 15 minutes or longer.

According to the Governor’s proclamation, this requirement does not apply to any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a mask. It does not apply to any person who is deaf or hard of hearing or any person while communicating with an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing or has a disability, medical condition, or mental health condition that makes communication with that individual while wearing a mask difficult. It also does not apply to any person that is working alone or in a space where social distancing can be maintained, any person consuming food or drink or sitting at a restaurant/bar table to eat or drink, or an athlete participating in a sporting/recreational event or engaged in physical exercise. It is not applicable for any person giving a religious, political, media, educational, artistic, cultural, musical, or theatrical presentation or performance for an audience or any person participating in a service at a spiritual or religious gathering. It does not apply to any person asked to remove a mask to verify an identity for lawful purposes or any person obtaining or providing a service that requires the temporary removal of a mask. Public safety workers who are actively engaged in a public safety role and when a mask would seriously interfere with performance of their responsibilities are exempt. 

Gatherings: Social, community, business, or leisure gatherings or events of more than 15 people at an indoor location/venue and more than 30 people at an outdoor location/venue is prohibited unless all members of the gathering live in the same household. This includes wedding and funeral receptions, family gatherings, festivals, fundraisers, and other nonessential gatherings and events where people that do not normally live or work together may congregate. Gatherings that occur during the ordinary course of business or government between employees or members of the public, including gatherings in an office or manufacturing workplace and normal retail operations, are allowed. 

Spiritual and religious gatherings including any funerals or weddings are allowed, however, the host of the gathering must implement reasonable measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 consistent with the guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Public Health. 

With the exception of high school, collegiate, or professional sporting/recreational gatherings, all other sporting/recreational gatherings of any size are prohibited. Although sporting, recreational, and other extracurricular gatherings sponsored by a high school are allowed, all spectators over the age of two must wear a mask. Spectators are limited to no more than two per student participating in the event and they may only attend during the time that the student or the student’s team is participating. The organizer must maintain social distancing between each group of spectators. 

Restaurants and Bars: Restaurants and bars including a wedding reception venue, winery, brewery, distillery, country club, or other social or fraternal clubs must close to the general public for in-person consumption on its premise at 10:00 p.m. and may not reopen until 6:00 a.m. the following day. They may continue to serve food and beverages outside of these hours if the items are promptly taken from the premise such as on a carry-out or drive-through basis, or if it is delivered to customers off-premise.

Social distancing between groups and individuals must be maintained on-premise unless booths are divided by a barrier of sufficient height to fully separate seated costumers. The establishment must require all customers to wear a mask unless they are seated at a properly distanced booth/table. This includes while participating in any activities including games, karaoke, pool, arcades, or dancing. No more than eight people may sit together unless they live in the same household. The establishment must not host private social gatherings larger than 15 people indoors or 30 people outdoors. All employees are required to wear a mask when interacting with customers. 

Bowling alleys, pool halls, bingo halls, arcades, indoor playgrounds, children’s play centers must also close to the general public at 10:00 p.m. and may not reopen until 6:00 a.m. the following day (if the establishment serves food and beverage, they may continue to do so after these hours provided the food or beverage is promptly taken off the premise). They must also limit the group size seated or patronizing the establishment together to no more than eight people unless they all live in the same household.

Fitness Centers: All group fitness activities are prohibited. Social distancing, hygiene, and other public health measures consistent with the guidelines issued by the Iowa Department of Public Health must continue to be implemented at all health clubs, fitness centers, spas, and gyms. 

Casinos and Gaming Facilities: These establishments must comply with all requirements of bars and restaurants for any food or beverage service. They must require all customers to wear a mask unless seated at a properly distanced table to eat or drink. All employees who interact with customers must wear a mask. 

Salons, barbershops, massage therapy establishments, tattoo establishments, and tanning facilities must continue to require customers and providers to wear a mask unless a service is being provided that requires the removal of the mask and the customer remains at least six feet apart from other customers. 

The Governor’s proclamation also included updated rules for nonessential or elective surgeries and procedures including ensuring that the total number of medical/surgical and observational beds in a hospital for in-patient nonessential surgery or procedure must be no more than 50 percent of the average used by the facility in September 2020. For more information on guidelines for nonessential and elective surgeries and procedures plus full details on all requirements, view the entire proclamation at https://governor.iowa.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Public%20Health%20Proclamation%20-%202020.11.16.pdf

The City of Cedar Falls appreciates the cooperation and understanding of the community during this challenging time. To stay updated on City news and find resources regarding COVID-19, visit www.cedarfalls.com/prepare.

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