Some businesses re-opening Friday

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     By Pam Reinig                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Register  Editor                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

     Beginning Friday in Clayton County, you can enjoy a sit-down meal, pick up a bouquet of fresh flowers or purchase a new outfit—but you still can’t get a haircut.

     Governor Kim Reynolds announced on Monday that she is allowing some businesses to re-open May 1 in 77 counties where COVID-19 activity has slowed or stabilized. Clayton is one of those counties that can re-open certain specified business at 50 percent capacity. But businesses in other Northeast Iowa counties, including Allamakee, Fayette and Dubuque counties, must remain closed until May 15. And many businesses can’t reopen regardless of location, including salons, theaters, museums, tanning facilities, and tattoo parlors.

     “I know it hasn’t been easy,” said Reynolds referring to statewide business closings, “but it has made a difference.” She added that going forward Iowans must practice many of the same mitigation efforts that have been recommended since mid-March.

     “I strongly encourage all vulnerable Iowans, including those with pre-existing medical conditions and those older than 65, in all counties of the state 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,” Reynolds added.

      The proclamation lifting social distancing measures was released just hours before Register press time. Owners of those businesses that can re-open are still formulating plans. Kathy Josten, owner of Elkader’s Bridge Street Boutique and Gift, will unlock her doors on Friday but she’ll likely have limited hours at the start. “This caught me off guard and now I have just four days to prepare,” said Chelsea Armstrong, owner of TD’s Sports Bar and Grill, also in Elkader. “Of course, we’ll re-open and at the 50 percent capacity, which, for us, is about 75 people. But we’ll still continue with take-out and delivery for those who don’t feel comfortable coming in right now.”

      Businesses in the following counties will remain closed until mid-May: Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Dallas, Des Moines, Dubuque, Fayette, Henry, Iowa, Jasper, Johnson, Linn, Louisa, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Tama, Washington, and Woodbury. Earlier this month, Reynolds pointed out that these counties account for nearly 85 percent of all positive cases. Several of the counties have reported outbreaks at long-term care facilities and meat processing plants.

     At press time, the number of COVID-19 positive cases was 5,868 and the number of deaths was 127. Over 32,000 Iowans have had negative test results. Clayton County has reported 13 positive cases and one death. Following are the statistics for the contiguous counties: Allamakee, 72 positives, 3 deaths; Fayette, 13 positives, 0 deaths; Delaware, 4 positives, 0 deaths; and Dubuque, 87 cases, 2 deaths.

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