Iowa City declares civil emergency following Johnson County and state declarations

In a city release on Wednesday, Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague declared a civil emergency to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, calling for the closing of bars, restaurants, theaters, and gatherings of 10 or more people. Teague now is granted additional measures to maintain health, welfare, and safety within the city community.


Emily Wangen

City Hall is seen on July 17, 2019. A variety of city government departments are housed within the building’s walls alongside the Iowa City City Council, which holds meetings in Emma J. Harvat Hall.

Alexandra Skores, News Editor

In a release on Wednesday afternoon, Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague declared a ‘civil emergency’, granting the mayor additional powers to distribute resources and mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

According to the release, Teague is now granted additional measures to maintain health, welfare, and safety within the community.

The proclamation also states that all persons are to “…voluntarily comply with the Governor’s orders, but if voluntary compliance cannot be achieved, the Iowa City Police Department will enforce the orders by criminal citation and arrest if necessary…”

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds State of Emergency Orders include:

  • The closing of bars and restaurants, besides delivery or to-go services
  • The closing of theaters and other event spaces
  • The banning of all social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings of more than 10 people.

The proclamation also gives City Manager Geoff Fruin the power to purchase or lease goods and services to help further the response to COVID-19 without the city’s standard competitive procurement procedure.

The proclamation comes after the current 29 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, 18 of which are in Johnson County. On Tuesday, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors declared a public health emergency, after Reynolds issued a statewide public health disaster emergency. Also on Tuesday, the City announced City Hall would be closed to the public, with city services still being offered online.

Iowa Code Section 372.14(2) and City of Iowa City Code Section 8-1 grant the mayor authority to declare a civil emergency.