Gov. Reynolds signs new proclamation modifying public health measures

Gov. Kim Reynolds

DES MOINES – Today, Gov. Reynolds signed a new Public Health Disaster proclamation that modifies existing public health measures to provide clarity and simplify the measures applicable to recreational activities and fitness centers. 

Except for high school, collegiate, or professional sporting or recreational gatherings, the proclamation only permits sporting and recreational activities when all participants in the gathering—including athletes, coaches, or instructors—maintain six feet of physical distance at all times.  Activities where closer contact is required or reasonably unavoidable, such as a wrestling meet or basketball game, are prohibited. Spectators are also limited at all gatherings to two per athlete and must be social distanced six feet apart. And all participants, except for athletes, must wear masks. These requirements also apply to group classes or activities at fitness centers and gyms.  

The proclamation does not change any measures in place for high school-sponsored, collegiate, or professional sporting or recreational activities. High school sports and extracurricular activities continue to be permitted, even where close contact may occur. But spectators at games or events are limited to two per student and are required to wear a mask. 

The proclamation is effective immediately and continues to expire on December 10, 2020. 

The full proclamation is online its entirety and the substantive provisions are below: 

GATHERINGS Section 1.  Pursuant to Iowa Code § 135.144 (3), and in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Public Health, unless otherwise modified by subsequent proclamation or order of the Iowa Department of Public Health, I order that effective immediately and continuing until 11:59 p.m. on December 10, 2020: 

  1. Indoor gatherings of more than 15 people prohibited: Social, community, business, or leisure gatherings or events of more than 15 people are prohibited at all indoor locations and venues unless explicitly permitted by this Proclamation or all members of the gathering live in the same household. This includes wedding and funeral receptions, family gatherings, festivals, conventions, fundraisers, and other nonessential gatherings and events where people who do not ordinarily live or work together congregate indoors. This section does not apply to restrict gatherings that occur during the ordinary course of business or government between employees or members of the public, including but not limited to gatherings in an office or manufacturing workplace, normal retail operations, or other establishments explicitly addressed in this Proclamation. 
  2. Outdoor gatherings of more than 30 people prohibited: Social, community, business, or leisure gatherings or events of more than 30 people are prohibited at all outdoor locations and venues unless explicitly permitted by this Proclamation or all members of the gathering live in the same household. This includes wedding and funeral receptions, family gatherings, festivals, conventions, fundraisers, and other nonessential gatherings and events where people who do not ordinarily live or work together congregate outdoors. This section does not apply to restrict gatherings that occur during the ordinary course of business or government between employees or members of the public, including but not limited to gatherings in an office or manufacturing workplace, normal retail operations, or other establishments explicitly addressed in this Proclamation. 
  3. Sporting and recreational gatherings: Except for high school, collegiate, or professional sporting or recreational gatherings, all sporting or recreational gatherings of any size are prohibited unless the gathering organizer and all participants comply with the following requirements: 
    1. Social Distancing Required: All participants in the gathering—including all athletes, coaches, or instructors—must maintain six feet of physical distance between all other participants at all times. Activities where closer contact is required or reasonably unavoidable, such as a wrestling meet or basketball game, are prohibited. 
    2. Spectators limited: The gathering organizer and all spectators must ensure that spectators are limited to no more than two spectators for each athlete participating in the gathering. Spectators may only be present during the time that athlete is participating in a practice, game, meet, or competition. The gathering organizer and all spectators must also ensure at least six feet of physical distance between each group of spectators. 
  1. Masks requiredAlthough athletes are not required to wear a mask while participating in a gathering, all other participants over the age of two shall wear a mask or other face covering for all gatherings. 
  2. High School-sponsored sporting and extracurricular events: Sporting, recreational, and other extracurricular gatherings sponsored by a high school, including practices, games, competitions, and performances are not prohibited by this section, provided that all participants in the gathering comply with the following requirements: 
    1. Spectators limited: The gathering organizer and all spectators must ensure that spectators are limited to no more than two spectators for each student athlete, performer, or competitor participating in the gathering. Spectators may only be present during the time that student or the student’s team is participating in a game, meet, or competition. The gathering organizer and all spectators must also ensure at least six feet of physical distance between each group of spectators. 
    2. Spectator masks: Although student participants are not required to wear a mask while participating in an event, all spectators over the age of two shall wear a mask or other face covering for all gatherings. 
  3. Spiritual and religious gatherings: Spiritual and religious gatherings, including any funerals or weddings, are not prohibited by this section. But a church, synagogue, or other host of a spiritual or religious gathering shall implement reasonable measures under the circumstances of each gathering to ensure social distancing of employees, volunteers, and other participants, increased hygiene practices, and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 consistent with guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Public Health. 

REOPENING OF BUSINESSES AND ESTABLISHMENTS 

Section 2.  Pursuant to Iowa Code § 135.144 (3), and in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Public Health, unless otherwise modified by subsequent proclamation or order of the Iowa Department of Public Health, I order that effective immediately and continuing until 11:59 p.m. on December 10, 2020: 

  1. Fitness centers: A fitness center, health club, health spa, or gym may reopen or remain open, but only to the extent that it complies with the following requirements: 
    1. Social distancing: The establishment must ensure that all equipment, such as treadmills, bikes, weight machines, benches, and power racks, are spaced at least six feet apart or take other appropriate measures to ensure that more closely spaced equipment is not used. 
    2. Group activities: Any group activities or classes must be limited to a number of people that permits maintaining a distance of six feet apart at all times, and the establishment shall ensure that all such activities and classes comply with the requirements for sporting and recreational gatherings in this Proclamation.  
  1. Other social distancing, hygiene, and public health measures: The establishment shall also implement reasonable measures under the circumstances of each establishment to ensure social distancing of employees and customers, increased hygiene practices, and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 consistent with guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Public Health. 

Reynolds Announces Additional Support for COVID-19-Impacted Renters and Homeowners at Risk of Eviction or Foreclosure 

Deadline for Mortgage, Rent and Utility Assistance: Dec. 4    

DES MOINES – Governor Reynolds today announced an additional allocation of CARES Act funds to support Iowa renters and homeowners at-risk of eviction or foreclosure due to a COVID-19-related loss of income. The Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention program has now been allocated a total of $37.4 million, with approximately $8 million remaining available. The deadline to apply for rent and mortgage assistance as well as utility assistance through the Iowa Residential Utility Disruption Prevention program is Dec. 4, 2020.  

“At no fault of their own, many Iowans are struggling to pay their bills as a result of lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Today’s announcement bolsters the Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention program, which is helping Iowa homeowners and renters make their rent or mortgage payments. Our team will continue to assist Iowans in accessing this critical assistance as the Dec. 4th deadline approaches.”  

“Nearly 11,000 renters and 500 homeowners have received assistance with their rent or mortgage payments and another 2,800 have applied for utility assistance to date,” said IEDA and IFA Executive Director Debi Durham. “Our goal is to assist as many Iowans that have been impacted by COVID-19 and are at-risk of eviction, foreclosure or utility disruption as possible.” 

The programs are funded through federal CARES Act funds, which requires that all funds be expended by Dec. 30, 2020.  

To be eligible for either program: 

  • Must have a documented COVID-19-related loss of income on or after March 17, 2020. 
  • Household income at the time of application may not exceed 80% median family income, which varies by county and household size and is included in the applications. 

    Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program
     
    The program provides current renters and homeowners who are at-risk of eviction or foreclosure due to a COVID-19 loss of income with rent or mortgage assistance for up to four months. The total maximum in assistance per household is the lesser of $3,200 for rental assistance and $3,600 for mortgage assistance or four months actual rent/mortgage payment amounts. Payments are made directly to landlords and mortgage servicers and applied to the applicant’s account.  

    The state has allocated $37.4 million of federal CARES Act funds to the Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention program to date.  

    Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program
    The program provides eligible households with up to $2,000 towards electric, natural gas and water bills if they are at risk of disconnection due to an inability to pay due to a COVID-19 related loss of income. Payments are made directly to utility providers and applied to the applicant’s account. 

    The state allocated approximately $14.5 million of federal CARES Act funds for utility assistance programs.

    For a full list of eligibility requirements and to apply for either program, visit iowahousingrecovery.com through Dec. 4, 2020. 

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