Iowa Democrats urge Reynolds to issue stay-at-home order

Iowa Reps. Abby Finkenauer and Cindy Axne, both Democrats, are urging Gov. Kim Reynolds to issue a stay-at-home order for the state of Iowa. Reynolds has closed several businesses and services across the state, but has been resistant to a stricter measure.


Joseph Cress

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during her first Condition of the State address in the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines on Jan. 9, 2018.

Caleb McCullough, Assistant Politics Editor

Two Democratic members of Iowa’s congressional delegation are urging Gov. Kim Reynolds to issue a stay-at-home order, citing rising deaths and cases of COVID-19 in the state.

Reynolds has taken several measures to shut down public establishments, including restaurants, bars, salons, tattoo shops, and several types of retail shops, but she has been resistant to pressure from local leaders to establish a stay-at-home order as several states have done over the past couple weeks.

“I can’t lock the state down,” Reynolds said in a press conference Tuesday. “I can’t lock everybody in their home. We have to make sure that we have a supply chain that is up and going. We have an essential workforce that has to be available.”

On Monday, Rep. Cindy Axne of Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District urged the order in a letter to Reynolds, where she cited the rising case numbers — which neared 500 on Tuesday — and the Iowa Department of Public Health’s prediction of a peak in cases only two to three weeks away.

“As you’ve noted in your public availabilities and in our conversations, the steps already taken by your office will help slow the spread of this disease,” Axne said in a statement. “But as the president extends nationwide social distancing guidance until the end of April, and nearby states take steps to more drastically limit residents from leaving their homes, Iowa also needs to take the strongest possible approach to control further transmission.”


Rep. Abby Finkenauer from Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, where multiple COVID-19 deaths in Iowa have occured, urged the governor for a similar directive in a letter on Friday. 

Finkenauer said she had consulted with medical experts to reach her decision, and she pointed to shortages of medical equipment and recent outbreaks in nursing homes. 

“A stay-at-home order will not only help protect our health care providers and other essential frontline workers, but also Iowans who work in our state’s most important industries,” she said in a statement. 

Other local leaders, such as Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague and Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, have also pushed for a stay-at-home order. The Johnson County Board of Supervisors submitted a letter to Reynolds on Monday requesting an order. 

Reynolds has said in previous press conferences that what she has put in place now is effectively similar to a stay-at-home order in other states, and she urged people Tuesday to stay home as much as possible.

“People also have to be responsible for themselves, and when we limit the number of times that we’re going out and what we’re going out for and where we’re going and minimizing the number of people we’re around, we will start to accomplish, hopefully, what we’re trying to do.”