Iowa Governor Issues State of Public Health Disaster, Closes Businesses

March 17, 2020 Updated: March 17, 2020

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday issued a state of public health disaster and closed numerous businesses across the state amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Starting at 12 p.m. all restaurants and bars will be shut down to the public, although food served by drive-through, carry-out, or delivery will still be available, according to Reynolds’s office. The move will extend to March 31.

The measure will shut down fitness centers, theaters, casinos, senior citizen centers, and other adult care facilities.

“These are unprecedented times and the state of Iowa will do whatever is necessary to address this public health disaster,” Reynolds said in a news release. “I have authorized all available state resources, supplies, equipment, and materials to combat the spread of COVID-19. The actions taken today are necessary to protect the health and safety of all Iowans and are critical to mitigating the spread of the virus.”

A number of other states have implemented similar measures in recent days as the number of cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the Wuhan coronavirus, continues to escalate in the United States.

On Monday, President Donald Trump posted guidelines for Americans that included calling on people to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.

“If everyone makes this change, or these critical changes and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus,” Trump told reporters in the White House briefing room on Monday. “We’re going to have a big celebration altogether.”