Starting next week, establishments including casinos, gaming facilities, amusement parks, skating rinks, skate parks, bowling alleys, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor performance venues will be allowed to reopen, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday.
In addition, beginning June 1, spectators will be able to watch auto and horse races, according to information from the state, as long as the facility is at no more than 50 percent of capacity and the crowd complies with social distancing guidelines.
“We know that COVID-19 will continue to be part of our lives for a while, and we know that Iowans are willing and able to take personal responsibility to protect themselves and others,” Reynolds said during a press conference. “We know that social distancing works, and we know that together, we can continue to move ahead safely and responsibly.”
Reynolds announced additional changes, such as allowing up to 10 people to be seated together at restaurants and bars, wineries, breweries and distilleries, which are slated to reopen at 50 percent capacity Thursday.
Bands and other musical performers will be able to perform at bars as well as restaurants, as long as both the performers and audience follow social distancing guidelines, Reynolds said.
Tuesday’s updated proclamation permits gatherings of more than 10 people at community, recreational and leisure sports gatherings. Reynolds noted that people attending such gatherings must adhere to social distancing guidelines, and that venues will be limited to 50 percent capacity.
Additionally, the proclamation permits 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 social distancing, hygiene and public health measures in place.
“Lifting this restriction means friends and families can gather together, but that privilege comes with responsibility in ensuring you are doing the right thing to protect your health and the people you care about,” Reynolds said.
She extended restrictions, which had been set to expire within the next several days. to June 25.
Over Memorial Day weekend, six new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Story County, bringing the county’s total to 96, the state reported.
Steve Sullivan, a spokesperson for Mary Greeley Medical Center, confirmed the new cases and said each individual was tested outside of Story County.
Last Thursday, the Tribune reported a discrepancy between Story County Public Health’s numbers and those on the state health department’s coronavirus.iowa.gov website, which gave the total as 86, while the county said there were 84.
Sullivan attributed the error to a glitch in the state health department’s system on Friday, when the state reported 88 cases but county health officials reported 86.
Since the partial reopening of Story County began on May 1, 62 of the county’s 96 total cases have been reported, according to the state health department.
On Tuesday, Reynolds announced eight new deaths associated with COVID-19 and 104 new cases throughout Iowa, the lowest totals reported in a 24-hour span since April.
Since the first case of the novel coronavirus was reported in Iowa at the beginning of March, 17,659 individuals have tested positive for the virus, and 466 Iowans have died of COVID-19.
Staff Writer Kiley Wellendorf contributed to this article.