CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus in Iowa, live updates for April 1: C.R. announces April changes for Parks and Rec programs

Disinfectant and gloves are positioned near the door at Local Craft Ale House in Cedar Rapids on March 16. Owner Jason W
Disinfectant and gloves are positioned near the door at Local Craft Ale House in Cedar Rapids on March 16. Owner Jason Wilkerson decided to go to curbside to-go orders and growler fills in an effort to prevent spread of the coronavirus. Gloves are only used for one customer’s order, then thrown away. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

2:10 p.m.: C.R. announces Parks and Rec programs impacted by COVID-19

CEDAR RAPIDS — Due to the COVID-19 virus, the Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Department announces changes to programs and events originally scheduled to be held in April.

The following are canceled:

* Easter Open House at the Noelridge Greenhouse, scheduled for April 11-12.

* April session of swim lessons at Bender Pool. The next session of swim lessons is scheduled to be held in June.

Postponed:

* Old MacDonald’s Farm in Bever Park will tentatively open in May.

* Arbor Day celebrations are postponed to a later date.

* The opening of park restrooms, drinking fountains and pavilions are postponed to a date to be determined. Patrons are asked to provide their own drinking water and hand sanitizer.

Parks, trails and dog parks are currently open, but playgrounds and exercise stations remain closed. The public is urged to visit parks that are not as heavily used.

When using parks, follow these guidelines:

* Maintain social-distancing standards of a minimum of 6 feet between you and other park users.

* Avoid areas where 10 or more people are gathered.

* Do not use park amenities where social distancing cannot be followed.

* Carry out any trash that is brought into the parks.

* If you have been sick in the last two weeks or have a cough, fever or other flu-like symptoms, stay home for your health and the safety of others.

* Individuals 60 and older, or those with underlying conditions, should stay at home to avoid potential exposures.

5:01 p.m.: IUB urges Iowans to always call 811, plan ahead

DES MOINES — Excavators and utility locators have additional precautions to be aware of this spring as the COVID-19 public health emergency continues to affect staffing and scheduling of underground utility locates required by Iowa’s One Call law.

April is annually recognized as National Safe Digging Month, and the Iowa Utilities Board joins with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and the Common Ground Alliance to remind everyone to exercise caution with any digging project by placing a call to 811. It’s the law.

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A call to 811 or submitting information online notifies operators with underground utility facilities of the intent to dig. Utility companies typically respond within two business days (48 hours) by marking the underground utilities with color-coded paint and flags that indicate where utility lines are buried. Under Iowa law, locators can negotiate extensions to the 48 hour requirement.

3:25 p.m.: DHS partners with Cedar Ridge Distillery

DES MOINES — The Iowa Department of Human Services announces partnership with Cedar Ridge Distillery and the Department of Corrections.

Cedar Ridge Distillery, of Swisher, is providing DHS with more than 90 gallons of hand sanitizer. This will cover all of DHS’s frontline staff.

This includes child welfare and case management social workers who work directly with families and children in need of assistance. This also includes income maintenance workers, targeted case managers and administrative staff who remain in offices.

The Cedar Rapids field office is helping to distribute 36 gallons to the Cedar Rapids, Northern and Eastern Service Areas while the Iowa Department of Transportation will help transport the remaining supply to Des Moines for distribution to the Des Moines and Western Service Areas.

“It felt like the right thing for us to do, at least temporarily until the big producers get caught back up with demand,” said Jeff Quint, founder of Cedar Ridge Distillery.

“Meanwhile, since our winery kitchen and event center have been shut down, it is keeping our retail staff fully employed. We look forward to getting back to full-time whiskey production. Until then, we plan to do all we can on the sanitizer front.”

1:57 p.m.: Iowa City P&G to start producing hand sanitizer

IOWA CITY — Procter and Gamble’s facility in Iowa City soon will become one of five company manufacturing sites across the globe to produce hand sanitizer for hospitals, health authorities and relief organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other planned manufacturing locations include P&G’s plants in Lima, Ohio, and Gross-Gerau, Germany.

Since January, P&G has mobilized teams to start making hand sanitizer at those sites, according to a post last week on the company’s website.

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That process involves establishing a supply chain for raw materials, leading product development, inventing process engineering, getting clearances from governmental bodies, creating safe packaging and delivering the hand sanitizer reliably, the site says.

Once all five facilities are fully operational, P&G projects it will produce a weekly capacity of 45,000 liters of hand sanitizer.

In Iowa, P&G already has provided supplies to Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids and donated more than 6,000 empty bottles and pumps for University of Iowa Health Care to fill with hand sanitizer for staff, spokeswoman Erica Noble said Wednesday.

“This is just a start, and we are committed to be there for our people, our consumers and our communities as this global health crisis evolves,” she said.

2:35 p.m.: Dupaco donating to emergency relief fund

DUBUQUE — To help credit union members financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Iowa Credit Union Foundation is providing $500 grants to eligible individuals and small business owners.

The foundation’s new fund is supported by donations from Dupaco Community Credit Union and other Iowa credit unions.

The foundation’s Emergency Relief Fund provides one-time, $500 grants to credit union members — individuals and small-business owners — who are experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic. The grants are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and are subject to availability.

“We are proud to support the new Emergency Relief Fund during this time of need,” Dupaco president and CEO Joe Hearn said. “Iowa credit unions have a long history of providing a safety net to Iowans when they need it most, and we are honored to work together to maximize our impact.”

Eligible individuals must:

* Have experienced economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

* Be a current member of an Iowa credit union. Iowa credit union employees are also eligible.

Eligible small business members must:

* Operate and own a small business that employs less than five people with an annual operating revenue below $250,000.

* Have experienced economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

* Be a current member of an Iowa credit union.

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The application and eligibility guidelines became available April 1 on the Iowa Credit Union Foundation’s website at www.iowacreditunionfoundation.org/emergency-relief-fund.

Award recipients will receive an email from the foundation within one to two weeks of applying. Funds will be deposited into the recipient’s credit union account.

9:48 a.m.: Mission Creek musicians, authors beginning online productions

In celebration of what would have been Creek Week, local Mission Creek musicians and authors have produced a series of six videos, premiering via YouTube and Facebook starting today.

A schedule:

* Elizabeth Moen: Today at noon

* Spectral Snake: Thursday at noon

* Garth Greenwell: Friday at noon

* Aseethe: Friday at 7 p.m.

* Caleb Rainey: Saturday at noon

* Penny Peach Jr.: Saturday at 7 p.m.

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Support our coverage

Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please donate. Your contribution will support news resources to cover the impact of the pandemic on our local communities.

All donations are tax-deductible.