(The Center Square) – Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced last week the elimination of certain COVID-19-related regulatory mandates on Iowa businesses.
The proclamation in February dropped specific mandates, including requiring masks for unseated restaurant customers and restaurant staff interacting with the public.
Regulations requiring face-to-face contact between children and home school assistance program teachers or private instructors are also suspended while “in-person instruction is the presumed method of instruction” for all school districts and accredited nonpublic schools during the 2020-2021 school year.
Full-time in-person instruction is only waived in cases of parental consent; approved temporary school building or district closures; and temporary remote learning for individual students or classrooms due to inclement weather.
Mandates that remain in effect include temporary suspension of regulations limiting the use of online instruction for apprenticeships and the issuance of permits for oversize and overweight loads of goods “related to responding to and recovering from this disaster.”
In the proclamation, the governor encouraged “all vulnerable Iowans, including those with preexisting medical conditions and those older than 65” 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.”
She asked all Iowans “to limit their in-person interactions with vulnerable Iowans and to exercise particular care and caution when engaging in any necessary interactions.”
Effective March 8, Iowans with underlying medical conditions, including cancer, chronic kidney disease, Down Syndrome, pregnancy, obesity and smoking, that make them at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, according to the Center for Disease Control, are eligible to receive vaccines, the Iowa Department of Public Health announced in a news release on March 5.
“This announcement comes as several Iowa counties have reported they are nearing completion for vaccinating previous priority population groups,” the news release stated. Some counties and vaccine providers will remain focused on previous priority populations until they are closer to completion.”
In the release, The Iowa Department of Public Health also urged Iowans who have been vaccinated to continue exercising precautions “as we are still learning whether getting a vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to other people, even if you don’t get sick yourself.” Precautions include wearing a mask or face covering, practicing social distancing and staying home if you feel sick.
The Governor’s office and the Department of Human Services did not respond to inquiries from The Center Square by press time.