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Iowa: State-by-State COVID-19 Guidance

IOWA

July 27, 2020:

Governor Reynolds signed a new proclamation, on July 24, continuing the Public Health Disaster Emergency until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 23, 2020.

The proclamation extends public health mitigation measures currently in place for businesses and other establishments. This includes the requirements for bars and restaurants to ensure:

  • Six feet of physical distance between each group or individual dining or drinking;
  • All patrons have a seat at a table or bar;
  • A limit to congregating together closer than six feet.

Requirements for social distancing, hygiene, and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission also remain in place for gyms, casinos, salons, theaters, and other similar establishments.

The proclamation also extends many of the previously issued regulatory relief measures necessary to respond to this public health disaster, including those related to limiting nonessential medical procedures, waiving certain professional licensure requirements, removing barriers to remote learning, any other healthcare regulations. The proclamation also extends, until July 31, the temporarily suspension on property tax interest and penalties and the requirement for county treasurers to hold a tax sale for any parcel on which taxes are delinquent.

July 20, 2020:

On July 17, Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation continuing the Public Health Disaster Emergency, which added several additional actions to advance Iowa’s Return to Learn strategy.

The proclamation states that “in-person instruction is the presumed method of instruction” for all school districts and accredited nonpublic schools during the upcoming school year. Schools may only provide remote-learning opportunities in the following circumstances:

  • Parental consent: If a parent or guardian voluntarily selects the remote learning opportunity from among multiple options provided by the school district or nonpublic school in accordance with its Return-to-Learn Plan;
  • Approved temporary school building or district closure: If the Iowa Department of Education, in consultation with the Iowa Department of Public Health, approves of the temporary move to primarily remote learning for an entire school building or district because of public health conditions in the building or district;
  • Temporary remote learning for individual students or classrooms: If the school district or accredited nonpublic school determines, in consultation with state and local public health departments, that individual students or classrooms, but not all the students in a school building, must temporarily move to primarily remote learning because of public health conditions in the building;
  • Temporary remote learning because of inclement weather: If the school district or accredited nonpublic school determines that an entire school building or district must temporarily move to primarily remote learning because of inclement weather for a period not exceeding five consecutive school days unless the Iowa Department of Education approves of a longer period.

The proclamation also waives or suspends several education workforce licensure requirements.

June 25, 2020:

Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation continuing the Public Health Disaster Emergency signed on June 10, 2020. The proclamation, effective at 12:01 a.m. on June 26, extends the public health mitigation measures currently in place until July 25, 2020. It also extends many of the regulatory relief measures currently in place, including relief for school districts, telehealth services, and licensing and training requirements for health care professionals.

June 24, 2020:

The State of Iowa announced closures of two COVID-19 testing sites this week. The Sioux County site closed on June 23, and a second site in Wapello County will close on June 24. The state is actively pursuing clinic sites in both counties and testing remains available through local health care providers.

June 22, 2020:

Governor Reynolds signed Bill SF2338 into law on June 18. This Act relates to civil actions and the evidence necessary to prove past medical expenses. Notably, the Act provides that a person will not be liable for civil damages for injuries sustained from exposure to COVID-19 where the person acted in substantial compliance with state or federal public health guidance. Health care providers also may not be liable for injury or death of an individual while providing or arranging health care for COVID-19 treatment, including screening and treatment, and prescribing and administering medications. The Act also establishes a limited duty of care for persons who possess or control a premise and recklessly, or intentionally transmit COVID-19.

June 10, 2020:

Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation continuing the Public Health Disaster Emergency. The proclamation, effective at 8:00 a.m. June 12, 2020, continues to ease restrictions on businesses and extends other public measures until June 25, 2020.

Specifically, the proclamation lifts the 50% capacity limit currently in place and retains the requirements of six feet social distancing for certain businesses like restaurants, bars and theaters. Establishments must implement reasonable measures to ensure social distancing, increased hygiene practices and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Consistent with the guidance that's been provided by the Department of Public Health, swimming pools, senior centers, and adult daycare programs may open if they comply with specific guidance issued by the Department of Public Health.

May 26, 2020:

Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation continuing the Public Health Disaster Emergency and the regulatory relief offered under the proclamation until June 25, 2020. The proclamation permits bars, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and social and fraternal clubs to reopen on May 28 with the same public health measures as restaurants. The proclamation also permits the reopening on June 1 of additional establishments, including outdoor performance venues, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement parks, skating rinks, skate parks, outdoor playgrounds.

The proclamation permits social, community, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events of more than 10 people if public health measures are implemented, including limiting attendance to 50% of the venue capacity and maintaining six feet of distance between those attending. This also allows practices, games, and competitions for youth and adult baseball, softball, and individual sports such as running, biking, swimming, tennis, and golf to resume with appropriate public health measures in place.

May 20, 2020:

Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation continuing the Public Health Disaster Emergency until May 27, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. The proclamation allows summer school activities to resume on June 1. On May 22, movie theaters, zoos, aquariums, museums, and wedding reception venues statewide are permitted to reopen with appropriate public health measures in place. Swimming pools will also be permitted to reopen for lap swimming and swimming lessons.

Governor Reynolds also announced that, because the proclamation is set to expire on May 27, bars and other alcohol-related establishments that have been limited to carryout and delivery will be permitted to reopen for indoor or outdoor seating on May 28. These establishments will follow the same public health measures that restaurants have been implementing for the past several weeks.

The proclamation also provides additional regulatory relief to those affected by COVID-19 and continues to strongly encourage all vulnerable Iowans, including those with preexisting medical conditions and those older than 65, in all counties of the state to continue to limit their activities outside of their home, including their visits to businesses and other establishments and their participation in gatherings of any size and any purpose.

May 13, 2020:

Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation amending the Public Health Disaster Emergency. The proclamation permits salons, barbershops, and massage and tattoo establishments to reopen throughout Iowa in a limited fashion with appropriate public health measures in place. It also permits, with restrictions, restaurants (but not bars), fitness centers, libraries, and racetracks to reopen in the 22 counties where they have remained closed. These changes are effective at 5:00 a.m. on Friday, May 15.

The proclamation continues the other ongoing closures and public health measures, including the prohibition on social, community, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events of more than 10 people, until 11:59 p.m. on May 27, 2020.

May 7, 2020:

Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation continuing the Public Health Disaster Emergency. The proclamation permits some businesses to reopen in a limited fashion with appropriate public health measures in place, including: dental services, campgrounds, drive-in movie theaters, tanning facilities, medical spas, social clubs, fitness centers, and malls.

The order also temporarily suspends the expiration of liquor licenses, the requirement that schools cannot start prior to August 23, and several professional licensure requirements.

May 6, 2020:

Iowa Director of Revenue Kraig Paulsen announced businesses in Iowa can continue to apply for a second round of deferral of state sales and/or withholding tax. The first round stopped accepting applications on April 30. The second round of the Iowa Small Business Relief Tax Deferral program is available for tax periods beginning May 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020, but note the program has different terms:

  • Only payments are deferred.
  • Sales tax and withholding tax returns must be timely filed on or before the due date. If tax returns are not timely filed, you will be disqualified from the program and late payment and filing penalties will apply.
  • Each payment included in the new program is deferred for 30 days. Penalties will apply and interest will begin to accrue if payment is not made by the end of the 30-day deferral period.

Payments deferred between and including March 20, 2020 and April 30, 2020 are still deferred for 60 days as indicated in the notice you received previously.

April 30, 2020:

Governor Reynold’s Iowa Workforce Development Agency stated that as businesses begin to reopen employees who refuse to return to work at open businesses will be deemed to have “voluntarily quit.” This disqualifies those employees from receiving unemployment benefits.

April 27, 2020:

Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation continuing the State Public Health Emergency Declaration until May 27, 2020. The proclamation loosens social distancing measures in 77 Iowa counties effective Friday, May 1 and continues other restrictions until 11:50 p.m. on Friday, May 15, 2020. A summary of the proclamation, as well as the full three part proclamation (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), are available online.

The reopening measures do not apply in the following counties: Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Dallas, Des Moines, Dubuque, Fayette, Henry, Iowa, Jasper, Johnson, Linn, Louisa, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Tama, Washington, or Woodbury.

In 77 counties, the proclamation permits restaurants, fitness centers, malls, libraries, race tracks, and certain other retail establishments to reopen in a limited fashion with public health measures in place. In addition, the proclamation lifts the restriction on religious and spiritual gatherings so long as churches and other gathering hosts implement reasonable public health measures.

All other regulatory relief previously provided to affected Iowans is also extended until Wednesday, May 27, 2020.

April 24, 2020:

Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation continuing the State Public Health Emergency Declaration. The proclamation also permits health care providers to begin the process of resuming some elective surgeries and procedures through a phased approach, permits farmers markets to begin limited operations with appropriate public health precautions, suspends dental licensure and screening audits, suspends tax sales and extensions of the right of redemption after tax sales, and provides other relief to residents affected by COVID-19.

April 16, 2020:

Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation continuing the State Public Health Emergency Declaration and implementing additional measures to protect residents, workers, and the public in RMCC Region 6. The order is effective at 11:59 p.m. on April 16, 2020 and continues until 11:59 p.m. on April 30, 2020.

The proclamation limits social, community, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings in RMCC Region 6 to only people who live together in the same household. And it continues to limit weddings, funerals, and other spiritual or religious gatherings to no more than 10 people. The proclamation also requires people to remain six feet away from people outside their household whenever possible and requires employers to take reasonable steps to increase telework and adopt reasonable precautions to protect the health of employees and the public at any in-person operations.

RMCC Region 6 includes Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Grundy, Howard, Jones, Linn, and Winneshiek counties.

April 12, 2020:

Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation providing additional regulatory relief, including provisions to give health facilities greater flexibility, remove certain in-person regulatory requirements, and permit community colleges and school districts to adjust to the suspension of in-person instruction.

April 6, 2020:

Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation continuing the State Public Health Emergency Declaration, ordering additional closures and relaxing additional regulations to support the state’s efforts to combat COVID-19. The proclamation also calls on law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of these mitigation efforts.

To encourage further social distancing and mitigation efforts, the proclamation orders additional closures effective at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 7th until Thursday, April 30th:

  • Malls
  • Tobacco or vaping stores
  • Toy, gaming, music, instrument, movie, or adult entertainment stores
  • Social and fraternal clubs, including those at golf courses
  • Bingo halls, bowling alleys, pool halls, arcades, and amusement parks
  • Museums, libraries, aquariums, and zoos
  • Race tracks and speedway.
  • Roller or ice skating rinks and skate parks
  • Outdoor or indoor playgrounds or children’s play centers
  • Campgrounds

The following establishments and behaviors were previously prohibited by a proclamation signed on March 27:

  • Mass gatherings as outlined in the proclamation below
  • Restaurants and bars limited to carry out.
  • Fitness centers
  • Swimming pools
  • Salons: All salons, including all establishments providing the services of cosmetology, electrology, esthetics, nail technology, manicuring, and pedicuring, all as defined in Iowa Code § 157.1, shall continue to be closed.
  • Medical spas
  • Barbershops
  • Tattoo establishments
  • Tanning facilities
  • Massage therapy establishments
  • Theaters: All theaters or other performance venues at which live performances or motion pictures are shown shall continue to be closed.
  • Casinos and gaming facilities:
  • Other nonessential retail establishments outlined in the proclamation: Bookstores; clothing stores; shoe stores; jewelry stores; luggage stores; cosmetic, beauty, or perfume stores; florists; and furniture and home furnishing stores shall continue to be closed. These establishments may still serve the public through online or telephone sales, delivery, or curb-side pick-up. This closure order does not affect other retail establishments, such as discount stores, grocery stores, or pharmacies that sell these goods in addition to other essential food, medical supplies, and household goods.
  • Senior citizen centers and adult daycare facilities: All facilities that conduct adult day services or other senior citizen centers are hereby closed.
  • Social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events of more than 10 people are hereby prohibited at all locations and venues, including but not limited to parades, festivals, conventions, and fundraisers
  • Livestock auctions of food animals with more than 25 people and all other auctions with more than 10 people are prohibited.

April 5, 2020:

Governor Reynolds announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) plans to provide Iowa with more than $44 million for reimbursement of expenses related to the COVID-19 response. These funds were obligated to Iowa under the Presidential Major Disaster Declaration on March 23 and will be used to reimburse costs incurred in March and April to implement emergency protective measures, including the purchase of PPE and other efforts by hospitals, clinics, local governments, and nonprofit entities.

April 3, 2020:

Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation continuing the State Public Health Emergency Declaration. The proclamation orders the closure of schools, waiving time requirements as long as school districts put in place a continuous learning plan until April 30th. The proclamation also extends closures and limits placed on bars and restaurants previously identified retail stores, prohibits social gatherings of more than ten people, and continues to ban nonessential and elective surgeries until April 30th. It also extends and expands the previously granted regulatory relief and other measures until April 30th.

April 2, 2020:

Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation continuing Iowa’s public health emergency declaration. The proclamation extends regulatory relief allowing bars and restaurants to provide carry-out or delivery of alcoholic beverages until April 7, 2020. It also suspends the regulatory provisions of Iowa Code chapters 490, 491, 499, and 501A to the extent they require a physical meeting of shareholders, policyholders, or members, if the meeting is held by means of remote communication and meets other qualifications.

March 30, 2020:

Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation of disaster emergency, effective until April 1, which: (1) continues the State Public Health Emergency Declaration, (2) suspends elective and nonessential medical and dental procedures, (3) suspends some regulatory provisions relating to evictions, (4) extends and expands retail business closures, (5) orders health care facilities and nursing homes to engage in advanced health care screenings, and (6) temporarily suspends other health care related regulations.

The order also closes multiple groups of businesses until April 7, including: restaurants and bars, salons, medical spas, barbershops, tattoo establishments, tanning facilities theatres, casinos and gaming facilities, senior citizen centers and adult daycare facilities, mass gatherings, massage therapy establishments, swimming pools and spas.

March 27, 2020:

Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation of disaster emergency, effective until April 16, continuing the State Public Health Emergency Declaration, suspending elective and nonessential medical and dental procedures, suspending some regulatory provisions relating to evictions, extending and expanding retail business closures, ordering health care facilities and nursing homes to engage in advanced health care screenings, and temporarily suspending other health care related regulations.

March 23, 2020:

Governor Reynolds announced a new Iowa Small Business Relief Program that will provide financial assistance to small businesses and tax deferrals to any Iowa businesses that have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program offers eligible small businesses grants ranging from $5,000-$25,000 in addition to offering Iowa businesses a deferral of sales and use or withholding taxes due and waiver of penalty and interest. The funds may only be used to assist eligible businesses in maintaining operations or reopening business following the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds may not be used to pay debt incurred prior to March 17, 2020. The application deadline is March 31, 2020, at noon.

In addition, Governor Reynolds announced that eligible employer first quarter unemployment tax payments, due April 30th, will be delayed until the second quarter. Eligible employers include those employers with 50 or fewer employees. Eligible employers also must be in good standing with no delinquencies in quarterly payments.

March 22, 2020:  

In a press conference, Governor Reynolds announced she signed an emergency proclamation closing salons, medical spas, barbershops, tattoo establishments, tanning facilities, massage therapy establishments, and swimming pools. The proclamation suspends foreclosures on residential, commercial and agricultural properties. The proclamation also provides professional licensing relief to prevent the expiration of licenses during the disaster.

March 21, 2020:  

Des Moines Mayor Cownie asked residents to voluntarily stay home — only leaving for essential items like groceries, medicine and health care — for at least two weeks to help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

March 19, 2020:  

The Iowa Department of Revenue extended the filing and payment deadline for several state tax types, including income tax for Iowa residents and businesses. The order extends filing and payment deadlines with a due date on or after March 19, 2020, and before July 31, 2020, to a new deadline of July 31, 2020.

March 18, 2020:  

Governor Reynolds signed SF 2357, which expands the roles of physician assistants (PA) in Iowa. The legislation aimed at combating COVID-19 makes changes related to the practice of a PA by allowing for full prescriptive rights, legal protections similar to other health care professions, the ability to be reimbursed by Medicaid and a range of other changes.

March 17, 2020:  

Governor Reynolds declared a state of public health disaster. The measure closed all restaurants and bars to the public until March 31, excluding take-out and drive thru options. It also closed fitness centers, theaters, casinos, senior citizen centers, adult day care facilities, and canceled or postponed mass gatherings of more than 10 people.

The Governor also signed Senate File 2408, which creates emergency measures and supplemental appropriations for key government services to combat the spread of COVID-19. Supplemental appropriations and emergency measures include:

  • Supplemental appropriations for Medicaid ($88.98 million).
  • Supplemental appropriations other health programs ($1.8 million).
  • Supplemental appropriations for state hygienic lab ($525,000).
  • Limitations to some standing appropriations (non-public school transportation, instructional support, AEA funding).
  • Requirement that the Department of Management and the Legislative Service Agency review FY 2020 appropriations and make appropriations for the first two months of FY 2021.
  • Emergency appropriations from the Economic Emergency Fund of up to 10% to the DOM for purposes approved by the Governor, through August 31.
  • Authorization for the Governor to waive school instructional time requirements for schools that close due to COVID-19. Recommendation that schools close for 4 weeks.

March 16, 2020:  

Governor Reynolds announced various existing forms of assistance to workers and employers in the face of potential COVID-19 layoffs or furloughs. The purpose of the announcement was to provide guidance on how employees may file unemployment insurance claims.

March 14, 2020:  

Governor Reynolds recommended Iowa schools close for four weeks.

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