Virus Outbreak Iowa

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds updates the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak during a news conference at the Statehouse, Thursday, June 18, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa.

DES MOINES — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation Friday extending an order that bars and restaurants require patrons to remain at least 6 feet apart to limit spread of the coronavirus.

The proclamation also extends other requirements, including that bars and restaurants patrons each have seats at a table or bar and that operators maintain “increased hygiene practices.” In addition, the governor’s order extends existing rules for fitness centers, casinos, senior citizen centers and other businesses.

Reynolds this week encouraged residents to wear masks in public but has declined to issue requirements that people wear masks. She also has said local officials don’t have the authority to institute mask orders.

The governor noted she would not extend the suspension of a requirement that retailers accept empty cans and bottles for redemption of container deposits. The requirement that retailers take the containers will resume Sunday.

Reynolds actions came as Iowa’s online virus tracker showed a total of 820 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. It also showed 451 new confirmed cases by 10 a.m. Friday from the day before, bringing the state’s total to nearly 41,000 cases.

Hospitalizations for the virus were slightly down, to 230 from 232 on Thursday. That included 72 who were being treated in intensive care units. Iowa reached a peak of 417 COVID-19 hospitalizations on May 6.

Available space and equipment to treat new patients in the state’s hospitals remained steady, with 39% of the state’s hospital beds available and 79% of its nearly 800 ventilators available on Friday.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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