CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus in Iowa, live updates for April 14: Hy-Vee offering full-service fueling

Virginia Miller of University Heights picks up an order from Veronica Tessler, business owner, at Yotopia in Iowa City,
Virginia Miller of University Heights picks up an order from Veronica Tessler, business owner, at Yotopia in Iowa City, Iowa on Saturday, April 11, 2020. The local frozen yogurt shop was one of several restaurants in the area to receive an Iowa Small Business Relief Grant to help sustain it through the coronavirus shutdown. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

2:20 p.m. Maquoketa Caves To Remain Closed

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has announced the caves at Maquoketa Caves State Park will remain closed through April 30 in accordance with Gov. Kim Reynolds’ social distancing effort.

The trail system for the park’s most popular caves involves narrow boardwalks and handrails, which the DNR said makes it difficult for visitors to maintain proper social distancing.

Visitors can access the rest of the park, however.

2 p.m. Mercy Cedar Rapids Receives Large Mask Donation

American Gaming Association President/CEO Bill Miller released a statement Tuesday critical of the government’s Paycheck Protection Program that he claims does not sufficiently protect out-of-work casino and gambling employees.

“The Small Business Administration (SBA) today released revised regulatory guidelines that will allow additional small businesses that derive revenue from legal gaming to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP),” Miller said. “While these changes represent some progress, they fall woefully short of fully addressing antiquated, discriminatory policies that have, to date, restricted small gaming companies from accessing critical loan support made available through the CARES Act. As a result of this half-measure, small gaming businesses that have closed to comply with government orders will continue to be denied access to this critical lifeline to support their employees.”

The AGA said it will continue to “strongly advocate for relief that supports the displaced gaming workforce and gaming companies of all sizes through this crisis.”

1:50 p.m. Mercy Cedar Rapids Receives Large Mask Donation

Mercy Cedar Rapids announced via its Facebook page that it has received a donation of 10,000 N95 masks for its medical personnel from a Home Depot store in Ohio.

Troy DFC 6707 Home Depot in Luckey, Ohio, shipped the masks, which were received Tuesday.

“There are no words to express our gratitude!” Mercy’s Facebook page said. “Thank you for this generous donation to protect our valuable staff who are serving our community in direct patient care areas! We can’t thank you enough!” 12:50 p.m. Updated Map Of CoronaVirus Cases In Iowa

Through Tuesday, Iowa has officially announced 1,899 cases of COVID-19, with 49 people dying of the virus.

Linn County continues to have the most official cases in the state with 258. Johnson County is next with 210, followed by Polk County with 195.

Seventeen counties in the state have not recorded an official case.

You can access an updated county-by-county coronavirus map via the state’s coronavirus.iowa.gov here.

12:30 p.m. IFL, River Kings Cancel Season

The Indoor Football League has announced it is canceling the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members of the IFL are the Cedar Rapids River Kings and Iowa Barnstormers, which are located in Des Moines.

The IFL said it will return with an elongated 16-game regular season in 2021.

12:05 p.m. Ernst Meets With Small Business Owners

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst hosted an informational webinar Tuesday with 120 small business owners to give them updates on what is being done to help them during the COVID-19 crisis.

The virtual meeting can be accessed here.

“Small businesses make up 99 percent of the businesses in Iowa, and COVID-19 has caused these local employers across our state to face serious and unforeseen challenges,” Ernst said. “I worked with Democrats and Republicans to pass the Phase 3 relief package, which included the Paycheck Protection Program to aid our small businesses in this time of crisis, and now it’s important that we help them access that relief, so they can continue to pay their employees and their bills. Today’s conversation was yet another opportunity for me to hear from our small businesses and to understand their needs as we work to provide additional relief.”

Ernst acknowledged that the Small Business Administration is stretched thin, and said she’s working with Senate leadership to address the problem and get small business owners more of the funds they need to remain open.

9:10 a.m. Hy-Vee Offering Full-Service Fueling

Hy-Vee announced Tuesday it will be offering free full-service fueling at its convenience stores.

The service will be offered at select fuel pumps from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. Customers who wish to use the service can select the gas pump’s “Fuel Help” button or call a special designated phone number found on signs at each pump. Food and items from the convenience stores also can be ordered and delivered to vehicles.

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Employees will meet customers at their vehicle and process their transaction and fuel order without the customer having to leave their vehicle. Full-service fueling can be paid with cash or credit card.

Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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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.