CORONAVIRUS

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds sees Trump, feds as 'a partner' in plans to reopen state economy

She's looking at possibly 'reopening' parts of Iowa in May

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds speaks during a press conference updating Iowan's on the status of COVID-19 cases on Thursday
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds speaks during a press conference updating Iowan’s on the status of COVID-19 cases on Thursday, April 2, 2020, in Johnston. There have been 66 additional positive cases of Iowans with COVID-19, for a total of 614 positive cases and two additional deaths according to the IDPH. Brian Powers/pool, The Register

DES MOINES — Gov. Kim Reynolds said she emerged from a two-hour teleconference meeting Thursday pleased with the partnership that President Donald Trump is seeking with U.S. governors to reopen the American economy that has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They are a partner,” Reynolds said in a radio interview about the Trump administration discussing the meeting between the president and governors. “They are standing alongside of us. If there’s anything that we need to ramp it up and get our state’s economy moving again, they stand ready and willing.”

“He walked through the guidelines and opening America back up again,” the Iowa governor said. “He kind of walked through broadly some of the recommendations that the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and his team have put together. He just said this is a partnership. It’s up to the governors to actually pull the trigger and do what they need to do but these are some guidelines that they can utilize.”

Reynolds told Iowa reporters she had an initial meeting with her department heads who are part of an economic recovery task force to look at some of the research and metrics involved in starting the reopening of Iowa’s economy.

In a radio interview later Thursday, Reynolds said she is looking at May for starting to reopen Iowa’s economy, “and we’ll have more information next week. But the last thing we want to do is to open up and then have to shut it back down. So we just have to be smart about it, but we can. We can do that.”

At her daily news conferences, the governor has declined to share details of her plan to gradually bring businesses back online beyond the 81 percent of the state’s workforce that has not been directly covered by statewide mitigation efforts.

However, she indicated Thursday that testing, contact tracing and prevention will be critical elements in efforts to start reopening the state in May.

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“Testing will be critical I think moving forward and it will allow me to really drill down to a specific area and really allow me — like the northwest corner and the southwest corner, basically half the state is really at a good place to start dialing thing back up,” Reynolds said on the radio.

“Like opening some of our businesses on Main Street, opening up our restaurants with maybe 50 percent of what their capacity is if they’re meeting guidelines.”

Reynolds said is studying a document presented to governors during the teleconference and will share her thoughts with Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, a Red Oak Republican who has been named to Trump’s Open America Back Up Task Force along with Iowa’s other senator, Chuck Grassley.

“This is hard and I understand the difficulties that this has placed on businesses and families and individuals,” Reynolds said. “And so believe me we are looking at every opportunity we can to get this state up and going.

“We want to do it responsibly,” she said.

Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@thegazette.com

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