A McDonald’s in Ottumwa had a sign in the door Tuesday morning notifying patrons that its dining area was closed. The move, urged by the chain’s corporate offices, came shortly before Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered all restaurants and bars closed to dine-in customers. The order also closed fitness centers, casinos and theaters.

OTTUMWA — Gov. Kim Reynolds declared a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency on Tuesday, ordering all restaurants and bars to close to dine-in patrons in an effort to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The closures will be in effect through March 31.

The order said restaurants and bars “are hereby closed to the general public [but] … food and beverages may be sold if such food or beverages are promptly taken from the premises, such as on a carry-out or drive-through basis, or if the food or beverage is delivered to customers off the premises.”

The order also closed all fitness centers, gyms, theaters and casinos, as well as facilities that conduct adult day care services and senior citizen centers. It prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people.

The orders will have a significant effect on businesses and companies across Iowa. The Iowa Restaurant Industry Association asked members to “please comply with this order as we are working hard as an industry to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.”

Some Ottumwa fast-food locations had already made changes that match the order’s instructions. McDonald’s closed dine-in areas at all corporate-owned locations and encouraged franchise owners, who have more than 90 percent of the chain’s total, to do the same. The north McDonald’s in Ottumwa had a sign notifying patrons of the closure of the dining area Tuesday before Reynolds’ order was issued.

Bubba Knapp, owner of Bubba-Q’s barbecue in Ottumwa, said he took some steps that will help when he saw other states closing down bars and restaurants.

“I just got a bunch of supplies in today,” he said. “I was concerned with that many states we would have a run on a lot of the supplies that we use.”

Knapp said the restaurant will continue with deliveries and was going through schedules on Tuesday to make sure everyone was prepared for closure of the dining area.

Other area restaurants were taking similar actions. Bonitas Isa-Abys posted a request on its Facebook page that people call ahead for orders before picking them up, calling Tuesday a “hard day for all the people in the restaurant business.”

Warehouse Barbecue said on Facebook it is “ramping up our delivery force” and will still offer carry-out meals.

Ottumwa’s Old School Pinball and Arcade, while not the sort of business named in Reynolds’ order, voluntarily shut down for now. The company said it agreed with the overall effort to limit people’s exposure to others.

Tenco is suspending all adult day habilitation programs effective immediately to comply with Reynolds’ order. The organization said it will keep in contact with clients to keep people informed.

Quincy Place Mall has changed its hours, reducing the time the mall will be open to shoppers in what it called a temporary measure.

The mall will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

The Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation announced Tuesday it was closing its office at 111 E. Main St., to all unscheduled guests, and said the office will “be making day-to-day decisions about working remotely.”

The notice, sent out by CEO Steve Dust, said the foundation was not sure how long the changes would remain in effect.

The full text of the governor’s proclamation is below:

Matt Milner can be reached at and followed on Twitter @mwmilner

Matt Milner can be reached at and followed on Twitter @mwmilner


Managing Editor

Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.

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