CORONAVIRUS

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds talking to other governors, but she'll decide Iowa's 'reopening' schedule

She plans to say this week whether schools will remain closed after April 30

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday holds her daily COVID-19 news conference at the State Emergency Operations Center in J
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday holds her daily COVID-19 news conference at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston. Reynolds said that while she is talking to other Midwest governors about the coronavirus situations in their states, there is no plan to form a regional partnership to decide when to relax state-ordered business closings, as governors on the East and West coasts are doing. (Pool photo, Brian Powers/Des Moines Register)

Gov. Kim Reynolds is talking to governors in neighboring states about when they might lift government-imposed business shutdowns, but said she’ll make that decision for Iowa, based on the conditions in Iowa.

Reynolds on Tuesday said she’d been in contact with Midwestern governors because “it just makes a lot of sense to look at it from a regional perspective.”

That’s similar to the approach governors in other parts of the country are taking as they look ahead at easing restrictions they’ve imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a coalition with the governors of Oregon and Washington to coordinate plans for lifting virus restrictions, using “science to guide our decision-making and not political pressure.”

In the Northeast, seven states — Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island — are talking about a regional, multistate approach to lifting restrictions on businesses and gatherings of more than 10 people.

Reynolds said that while she’ll look at working with Midwestern governors, there is no multistate plan for reopening their economies at this point.

She said she and her administration have had conversations with the governors of North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, and Reynolds talks to Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts at least once a week. Like Iowa, none of those states have statewide shelter-at-home orders.

“I can tell you, while we look at it from a regional perspective, and we’ll talk about collectively the metrics that we’re using, each individual governor is going to look at their own state’s metrics,” she said at her daily COVID-19 briefing.

Reynolds has predicted Iowa’s COVID-19 peak will come toward the end of April. She hasn’t made a decision about extending the restrictions she has ordered, in place until April 30, “but we are working on what that looks like, what metrics we can use to start to dial back up some of the businesses.”

While she would like to start that process in May, “I’ll have to see where we’re at at the end of the month.”

Although the signs are “encouraging,” she said, they “are not reason enough for us to let up on our mitigation efforts at this time.”

She plans to decide this week whether to recommend K-12 schools remain closed beyond April 30.

Reynolds didn’t speak directly to President Donald Trump’s assertion Monday that he has “total authority” to order states to open their economies. However, in addressing the regional approach, Reynolds said the decision is for her and other governors to make.

“Every governor is going to have to take a look at what’s happening in their state and make those decisions based on what they’re seeing,” Reynolds said. “They’re going to look at it from a regional perspective, I would guess, and then make those decisions moving forward based on what the metrics are in their state.”

In her initial March 17 State Public Health Disaster Emergency proclamation, Reynolds ordered restaurants to limit sales to drive-up and deliveries and closed bars and recreational facilities. A week later, she ordered salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors and spas, as well as tanning and massage therapy facilities, to close.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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