Reynolds allowing casinos to reopen, sports to resume in Iowa June 1

Gov. Kim Reynolds talks about the most recent developments in Iowa's COVID-19 response at her...
Gov. Kim Reynolds talks about the most recent developments in Iowa's COVID-19 response at her news conference Friday morning, May 20, 2020. (WOWT) (WOWT)
Published: May. 24, 2020 at 9:27 PM CDT
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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday during her daily COVID-19 response briefing that effective June 1, with certain restrictions, a slew of businesses may reopen and various sports may resume practices and games.

includes casinos, amusement parks, and team activities — all subject to state health guidelines.

More businesses may reopen June 1

Reynolds announced effective June 1, speedways, and racetracks can open events to spectators.

Outdoor venues like grandstands and amphitheaters may hold performances.

Casinos may reopen, along with amusement parks, bowling alleys, pool halls, and arcades.

All of the above must maintain 50% capacity while keeping social distancing and hygiene protocols going.

The governor's proclamation also extends the public health emergency declaration to June 25.

Let the games begin

Social, community, recreational, leisure, and sports gatherings of more than 10 people will be permitted again while keeping social distancing and 50 percent capacity at venues.

Games, competitions, and practices are also permitted for youth and adult baseball, softball, running, biking, swimming, tennis, and golf.

"Lifting this restriction means extended family and friends can come together but that privilege comes with the responsibility that you're ensuring you're doing the right thing," Reynolds said.

Case numbers

Reynolds said more than 28,000 Iowans were tested last week, 6,146 of the tests were done at TestIowa locations after criteria was opened so anyone who wanted to be tested could do so.

TestIowa saw its highest day Friday with 2,114 individuals tested. On Sunday, 4,907 tests were processed -- only 93 away from the state's full capacity for processing.

As more tests are being done, the positivity rate is trending downwards, Reynolds added.

In late April, the average positivity rate among Iowans tested was about 30 percent. As of Tuesday, the average positivity rate has dropped to 13.1 percent. The rate recorded Monday was 6.3 percent.

A total of 9,403 Iowans who have tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered from the illness. The recovery rate is now 53%, Reynolds reported.

The recovery rate among longterm care residents and staff is 42%.

Rationale behind reduced restrictions

Sarah Reisetter, deputy director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, spoke about how Iowans can continue to protect themselves and others as more businesses open.

Those in vulnerable groups, like over age 65, should continue to stay home. All Iowans should continue to practice social distancing, wear masks and staying home when not feeling well.

"While businesses are allowed to reopen they are being required to do so in a responsible way," Reisetter said.

Businesses that are closed will remain so through June 17.

Foreclosures and evictions can resume, too

The moratorium on foreclosures, evictions and debt-collection activities will end tomorrow, Reynolds said.

More funding will be made available to Iowans who have been impacted financially from the pandemic, she added, by the Iowa Finance Authority.

More information regarding types of assistance and how to qualify will be available Friday, Reynolds said.

Let's go to the movies

Russell Vannorsdel, vice president of

, was invited to speak by Reynolds after she said Friday many Iowans returned to the movie theaters for the first time in months.

"We, like most businesses in the state, were concerned how we would survive without guests coming to our theaters," Vannorsdel said. Aid through the federal CARES Act and brainstorming among the company led them to continue paying all salaried employees.

The company began a popcorn-to-go curbside delivery service at all their locations. The revenue brought back more hourly employees, he said.

The company's plan to safely bring back customers has been in the work for weeks following guidelines by state, local, and federal health authorities, Vannorsdel said.


Reynolds was asked what the state is doing to help contain outbreaks in high virus activity like in Buena Vista County. She said increased testing, working with processing and manufacturing facilities and isolating those who test positive are all being implemented by the state.

Regarding casinos, Reynolds was asked if smoking will still be allowed. She said "we are not changing any of that."

Reynolds explained the state will continue to look at trends and if a spike in cases occurs, they will reexamine guidelines and restrictions to see if something must be changed.

Asked about the

, Reynolds said she is meeting with the fair board later this week and will see what the plan is for this year's event.

On evictions, Reynolds was asked why now is the right time to end the moratorium and if enough money will be allocated to help all the Iowans who need it.

"We will take a look at the numbers, take a look at who qualifies, and set aside the appropriate amount of funding to meet the needs of Iowans during this really difficult time," she said.

Iowa COVID-19 response update

Gov. Kim Reynolds and other Iowa officials give an update on the state's COVID-19 cases and response. Details:

Posted by WOWT 6 News on Tuesday, May 26, 2020