Gov. Reynolds makes small business relief available to bars in six counties

Grants of $10,000 will be available for eligible businesses who have had to close in six counties because of rising coronavirus cases.


Katina Zentz

Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during the Condition of the State address at the Iowa State Capitol on Jan. 14.

Caleb McCullough, Politics Editor

Gov. Kim Reynolds will open small business relief grants to bars in six counties that have had to close because of a surge in coronavirus cases in those counties and across the state.

Reynolds closed bars in Black Hawk, Dallas, Johnson, Linn, Polk, and Story Counties on Aug. 27, citing a rise in cases primarily among college students and young people.

Eligible businesses will receive a $10,000 grant to counter lost revenues from being shut down. The program will be run through the Iowa Economic Development Authority, and applications will open Sept. 10, according to the website.

Reynolds didn’t announce any additional mitigation measures, even as the White House Coronavirus Task Force recommended this week that bars in 61 counties be closed and a statewide mask mandate be issued.

According to the task force’s report, Iowa had the highest rate of new cases over the past week. Ames and Iowa City are the second and fourth worst cities, respectively, when it comes to recent case increases, according to The New York Times.

“Were going to monitor this next week, and were going to see if the mitigation efforts that we’ve applied starts to reduce those numbers,” Reynolds said. “And if they don’t, then we’ll take additional steps.”

Reynolds also said she was working on a testing strategy with Iowa’s colleges and universities, another measure recommended by the task force, but the details of the strategy, and how testing would change on college campuses, was scarce.

She said Test Iowa resources, including tests and personal protective equipment, was available to colleges that needed assistance with testing.

The University of Iowa is currently only testing students who are symptomatic or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus, but President Bruce Harreld said last week that the UI would move to testing anybody who wants a test. A timeline for when that will happen has not been announced.


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