Reynolds: 22 counties -- including Scott and Muscatine counties -- may begin to reopen Friday

Reynolds: 22 counties -- including Scott and Muscatine counties -- may begin to reopen Friday

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DES MOINES — Scott and Muscatine counties are among 22 Iowa counties that will start to reopen Friday after Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds modified and relaxed the state's COVID-19 mitigation strategy for 22 counties. 

Beginning Friday, dentists may resume providing services, and campgrounds, drive-in movie theaters, tanning facilities and medical spas all may reopen.

Reynolds' newly updated order relaxes mitigation strategies in the 22 counties that remain under more strict orders because the virus is more widespread there.

In those 22 counties, beginning Friday, malls and retail stores may reopen provided they operate at no more than 50% of capacity, and fitness centers may reopen on an appointment basis only.

Reynolds has said an increase in data available to the state public health department, driven by an increase in the number of tests being conducted daily across the state, gives her administration confidence to take steps such as these to reopen Iowa businesses.

Iowa this week experienced new single-day highs for virus-related deaths (19 reported Tuesday) and hospitalizations (414 reported Wednesday).

“We can do it in a responsible and safe manner based on the data,” Reynolds said Tuesday at her daily briefing on the state’s pandemic response efforts. “Together we’re going to move through this, and we’re going to start to reopen our economy. We’re going to get Iowans back to work. We’re going to get to the other side of this.”

All reopening businesses must still practice social distancing among its staff and customers, according to the governor’s orders. For example, dentists must have adequate supplies of protective equipment and comply with virus-related policies recently adopted by the state dental board; campgrounds must ensure social distancing and increased hygiene practices; and cars at drive-in theaters must park 6 feet apart.

The newly modified order also clarifies that in the 77 counties where Reynolds recently relaxed other mitigation strategies, social and fraternal clubs, such as the American Legion or VFW, must remain closed unless they serve food, and golf clubhouses may be open to facilitate golfers and serve food.

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