Reynolds extends bar closures in Johnson, Story Counties

Bars were closed originally on Aug. 27 after a spike in coronavirus cases as college students return to campus.

Gov.+Kim+Reynolds+speaks+during+the+Condition+of+the+State+address+at+the+Iowa+State+Capitol+on+Tuesday%2C+January+14%2C+2020.

Katina Zentz

Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during the Condition of the State address at the Iowa State Capitol on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.

Caleb McCullough, Politics Editor


Gov. Kim Reynolds extended a proclamation ordering bars closed in Johnson and Story Counties on Friday, keeping the shutdowns in effect until at least Oct. 4.

Bars were originally closed in six counties on Aug. 27 because of a rise in positive coronavirus cases in those counties, especially among young people. Bars in Black Hawk, Dallas, Linn, and Polk Counties were allowed to reopen on Sept. 16.

“The public health conditions in Johnson and Story counties warrant continuing additional reasonable measures to reduce the transmission of COVID-19,” the proclamation says.

Restaurants in Johnson and Story Counties can continue to operate, but they’re required to stop serving alcohol after 10 p.m. Restaurants have to follow social distancing guidelines, including maintaining 6 feet of distance between parties, requiring each person to be seated when eating or drinking, and limiting people from congregating in groups.

New cases spiked in both Johnson and Story Counties in the first weeks of the school year, and bars were pointed to by Reynolds as well as University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld as a source for much of the infections. The UI is in Johnson County, and Iowa State University is in Story County.

Daily case rates have gone down in both Johnson and Story Counties since the bar closures were put in effect, but numbers statewide have largely stagnated, according to Iowa’s coronavirus website. There have been 5,092 positive cases in Johnson County, and 84,690 cases statewide, according to the website. This weekend, the data will update with nearly 27,000 antigen tests, according to a disclaimer on the website, which will increase the number of test results reported.

 

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