CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus in Iowa, live updates for April 24: Iowa City, North Liberty extends closures to public building; City of Cedar Rapids seeks cloth masks

A notice announces the closure of the campground at Palisades-Kepler State Park near Mount Vernon, Iowa on Thursday, Apr
A notice announces the closure of the campground at Palisades-Kepler State Park near Mount Vernon, Iowa on Thursday, April 23, 2020. State Park facilities and campgrounds are currently closed, but people have continued to get out for hikes and picnics. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

2:40 P.M.: CITY OF CEDAR RAPIDS REQUESTS CLOTH MASK DONATIONS

City of Cedar Rapids has requested community volunteers to create and donate cloth masks. The items will be distributed to local service agencies and community members.

Donated masks will be accepted through May 4. Those interested in contributing cloth masks can take them at various safe drop-box locations, including:

* — City Services Center front lobby (500 15th Ave SW)

* — City Hall (corner of First Avenue SE and First Street SE)

* — Water Administration Building (1111 Shaver Road NE)

The effort is an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing is difficult.

Cloth face masks should fit snugly, be cleaned regularly but should not be worn by children younger than 2 years old.

Information for making usable cloth masks can be found at the CDC website, UnityPoint Health and Mercy Cedar Rapids.

For questions, please contact City of Cedar Rapids Community Service Coordinator Stephanie Schrader at 319-286-5855 or s.schrader@cedar-rapids.org.

12:15 P.M.: IOWA CITY EXTENDS CLOSURE OF CITY HALL AND OTHER FACILITIES

City of Iowa City has announced Friday that the closure of City Hall and other public facilities to the public has been extended indefinitely. The decision is in response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

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The closures began in March after Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds declared a State Public Health Emergency. In accordance to the orders and Iowa Department of Public Health guidelines, the extended closures will include:

* — City Hall

* — Iowa City Public Library

* — Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center

* — Landfill and Recycling Center (except for rural Johnson County residents) * — Education Center at the East Side Recycling Center

* — Animal Care and Adoption Center

* — Parks and Recreation facilities:

* — Robert A. Lee Recreation Center

* — Mercer Park Aquatic Center/Scanlon Gym

* — Terry Trueblood Park Lodge

* — Ned Ashton House

* — Playground equipment at all City parks.

All changes in operating schedules, cancellations, or other alterations to City operations and facilities will be communicated as circumstances arise and are available by subscribing to www.icgov.org/subscribe.

NORTH LIBERTY EXTENDS PUBLIC BUILDING CLOSURES, MODIFIES PROGRAMMING

North Liberty announced Friday that its public facilities, including City High and the North Liberty Community Center, will remain closed to the public and registration for summer programs will be postponed, indefinitely, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

City staff will still be available to provide “no-contact services,” such as phone support, Library Hop checkout, digital services that include movies and books and other modified programming.

Reciters summer camp in June will be held with space, procedures and modified programming to comply with health guidelines. The library’s Summer Reading Program will be held with programming delivered remotely. For those without internet access, materials will be available for pickup or via mail.

The outdoor pool, indoor pool, play structures and splash pad will remain closed to the public, while ball fields will be closed to practices and tournaments through June.

The city will continue to assess the situation for a phased return of programs. Announcements will be made on the North Liberty City website and social media pages.

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12:35P.M.: GAMING COMPANIES ELIGIBLE FOR SMALL-BUSINESS LOANS

American Gaming Association received positive news Friday. The Small Business Administration released new guidelines that permit size-eligible small gaming entities to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program.

“We are pleased that the new regulatory guidelines released today make small gaming companies eligible for this critical program just as Congress has replenished its funding,” American Gaming Association President and CEO Bill Miller said in a news release.

10:23 A.M.: UNITED WAY TEAMS WITH LOCAL GROUPS FOR FOOD AND ESSENTIAL ITEMS DRIVE

United Way of East Central Iowa announced plans for a partnership with Lindale Mall, Hy-Vee, Z102.9 FM radio station and the City of Cedar Rapids in a food/essential items drive for older adults unable to get needed daily items.

“During these unprecedented times, Lindale Mall wants to continue our important mission as a local community partner,” Lindale Mall General Manager Beck Eckley said in a news release Friday. “A donation drive reinforces our mission of making a positive impact in Cedar Rapids for social good.”

Those interested in donating are encouraged to bring food and/or personal care items to the former Younkers building at Lindale Mall next to Carter’s. Items can be dropped off on May 1 from 4-6 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 2-3.

Food requests include peanut butter, canned tuna and chicken in water, whole grain crackers and pasta, canned fruits (in juice), vegetables and low-sodium soup. Fabric masks, hand lotion, hand soap, adult diapers, sheet protectors, disposable bed pads, disinfectant wipes and cleaning products are among the personal care items needed. Cloth face masks can also be donated and will be distributed to residents in needed.

Donations will be given to HACAP and Horizons for boxes provided to the community’s older adults.

For those interested in financial donations, visit UWECI’s COVID-19 Care Fund.

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9:32 A.M.: JOHNSON COUNTY SEATS REQUESTS RIDERS TO WEAR MASKS

Johnson County SEATS is requesting riders of its buses to wear cloth masks, according to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The SEATS department provides rides to senior adults, people with disabilities and others who find it difficult to conduct daily transactions in Johnson County.

The move is an attempt to keep both riders and drivers safe and limit the spread of COVID-19, especially in a public space where social distancing is difficult to maintain. Drivers also will be equipped with masks.

Friday’s news release also noted that public transit should be used for essential trips, including work, grocery shopping and health care trips.

The SEATS mask policy can be found on its website.

The CDC’s cloth mask recommendation is available here. For more information on masks, including making your own, visit the CDC website.

Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

 

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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.

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