CORONAVIRUS

Cedar Rapids mayor urges Iowa governor to issue statewide shelter-in-place order; local decision could come within a week

#x201c;If we are going to make that decision, we have to make it in the next several days to have the biggest impact,#x2
“If we are going to make that decision, we have to make it in the next several days to have the biggest impact,” Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart says. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Officials likely would decide within a week whether to issue a local shelter-in-place order, Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart said on Tuesday.

Hart sent Gov. Kim Reynolds a letter on Tuesday afternoon asking her to reconsider her decision not to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order to limit the spread of COVID-19. Hart on Monday questioned the effectiveness of a localized order that would restrict people leaving their homes to essential needs and said a statewide order was needed.

He has not ruled out supporting a local order.

“If we are going to make that decision, we have to make it in the next several days to have the biggest impact,” Hart said. “Time is urgent.

“It doesn’t mean we have to make a decision tonight, but the sooner the better. I anticipate a decision within a week.”

Other states, including neighboring Illinois, have issued shelter-in-place orders. Some Iowa mayors, including for Des Moines and Iowa City, have called on Reynolds to do the same, according to the Des Moines Register.

Reynolds said data does not support doing so on a statewide level and put it back to local officials to make the right decision for themselves, noting they have the authority.

Hart said local officials from multiple agencies should be on the same page if such a “drastic measure” is taken. The nine-member City Council would need to be in support, he added.

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Representatives from multiple public and private organizations, including the city of Cedar Rapids, Linn County Board of Supervisors, hospital and emergency management organizations, met on Monday evening and planned to again on Tuesday evening to discuss shelter-in-place.

Hart said they are waiting on a few pieces of data to determine a course of action. He declined to identify what that data is.

“This data, if it is compelling enough, will make it easier for councils and supervisors to make that decisions and it will be better accepted by public,” Hart said.

Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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