Coronavirus in Iowa, live updates for May 28: Cedar Rapids, Marion park playgrounds reopen Monday, Twin Pines Golf Course to reopen June 4

Customers wait to order food at a fair food stand owned and operated by Renee Taylor of Anamosa and her son, Preston Tay
Customers wait to order food at a fair food stand owned and operated by Renee Taylor of Anamosa and her son, Preston Taylor of Monticello, in Monticello on Friday, May 22, 2020. The stand sells traditional summer fair fare, and will be traveling around the region this summer to bring peoples’ favorite treats to their towns. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

Cedar Rapids park amenities to reopen Monday

The Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Department will reopen playgrounds Monday.

All playgrounds throughout the Cedar Rapids park system were fully disinfected while closed. Signage will be placed at the 52 playground sites reminding park users to practice social distancing, stay home if they are not feeling well, and to use hand sanitizer before, during and after play.

Starting Monday, ball fields in parks will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, unless a user group has a preexisting agreement that is in place for a location. Staff will begin reinstalling basketball hoops and sand volleyball nets throughout the week of June 1 so they are open for use. Tennis courts have already been reopened. Splash pads remain closed by proclamation of Gov. Reynolds until June 17.

The Riverside Skate Park will also open Monday.

Park pavilions will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Restrooms will remain closed and patrons are asked to continue carrying out their trash at this time. Ushers Ferry Lodge will be available to rent in June with a new capacity of 150 people, which is 50 percent of normal capacity. The facility will receive additional cleaning and users will be required to follow public health guidelines for social distancing.

Twin Pines Golf Course will open on June 4. The course’s clubhouse and driving range will be fully ADA accessible. Social distancing will be required in the clubhouse, parking lot, and on all golf property.

Carts and push carts will be disinfected after each use. Ball washers, water coolers, and sand trap rakes will not be used. Cup holes have been raised to allow golfers to retrieve their ball without touching the sides of the cup, and golfers are asked to leave the flag stick in the cup.

Only credit card payment will be allowed, and all staff at the course and clubhouse will wear masks. Jones Golf Course remains closed. The decision to open it will be based on the overall demand for golf after Twin Pines has opened.

Marion park playgrounds, amenities to reopen June 1

The City of Marion is also reopening its playgrounds, ball diamonds, basketball courts, fitness trail equipment and skate park on Monday, the city annoucned in a news release on Thursday.


Playground visitors are encouraged to maintain social distancing and practice good hygiene while at play. The equipment will not be sanitized on a regular basis, so it is recommended that park users use hand sanitizer before and after using the parks and recreation facilities. Restroom facilities in the parks remain closed.

Shelters and pavilions will continue to be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are not being taken at this time.

The splash pads at Gill Park and Thomas Park remain closed for now but will be reevaluated in the coming weeks, the news release said.

Marion is home to more than 21 parks and 8 trails on over 600 acres of land.

City of Cedar Rapids facility closures extended

The city of Cedar Rapids is extending current building closures to the public until July 6.

Closed facilities include:

• City Hall (101 1st St SE)

• City Services Center (500 15th Avenue SW)

• Cedar Rapids Water Administration (1111 Shaver Road NE)

• Central Fire Station (713 1st Ave SE)

• Animal Care and Control (7421 Washington View Parkway SW)

• Cedar Rapids Police Station (505 1st St SW)

• NW Recreation Center (1340 11th St NW)

• Downtown Library (450 5th Ave SE)

• Ladd Library (3750 Williams Blvd. SW)

Johnson County to reopen buildings by appointment only starting June 8

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors voted Thursday to reopen Johnson County governmental buildings to the public, by appointment only, beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, June 8.

The excludes the Johnson County Courthouse, which is limiting entrance to those members of the public who need to access the courts for reasons specified in the Thursday, March 30, 2020, order of the 6th Judicial District Chief Judge Patrick Grady. Entrance to county buildings will remain by-appointment-only until further notice.

County employees will be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment based on their job requirements. There will be one set of doors per building available to the public for entrance and exit. Face masks will be available for those members of the public entering the building if they do not have a face covering. There will be signage, as well as floor and sidewalk markings, indicating physical distancing of at least six feet.

Maple Syrup Festival canceled

Indian Creek Nature Center has canceled this year’s Maple Syrup Festival, which had been postponed to June 27-28.

Ticket-holders have the option to transfer their ticket to next year, donate all or part of their ticket costs back to the Nature Center, transfer to a gift card to put toward a future purchase, or receive a refund.

Hinterland Music Festival canceled for 2020

The 2020 Hinterland Music Festival in Saint Charles, Iowa, has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns


The festival announced Thursday that it will return on Aug 6-8, 2021, with almost all of this year’s lineup — including Leon Bridges, Of Monsters and Men, and Tyler Childers — still in.

Refunds can be attained by emailing Refund requests will be accepted until July 17.

Linn County Board of Supervisors extends telework policy through August

The Linn County Board of Supervisors has voted to extend the telework policy for designated Linn County employees, originally put in place in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The policy extension will serve as a trial-run to study the feasibility of offering telework to eligible employees indefinitely.

“Many large companies are moving toward telework and I suspect a majority of the future workforce will be remote workers. I want Linn County to be a leader in allowing telework in the public sector and to try to understand the feasibility of this practice now, while the opportunity lends itself to such study. We already know this practice is safer for our employees and our customers, and in some respects it has allowed us to be more productive. Early indications seem to suggest this policy works pretty well,” Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker said.

Telework is voluntary at this time and is allowed for eligible employees at the discretion of the department head or elected official through Aug. 31.

Most Linn County offices remain closed to the public until June 15 to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health of the public and county staff. County services remain operational and available to the public either online or via phone or email. Contact information for all Linn County departments is available at

Uptown Friday Night goes virtual on June 12

The opener of the 2020 Uptown Friday Night season will be June 12, albeit online.

Slap ‘n Tickle will perform, with special guest Jett Threat. It will stream on Facebook. The convert airs at 7 p.m., with backstage antics starting at 6:30.

The Cedar Rapids Jaycees will solicit donations online to help cover costs, asking for your support by sharing the event on Facebook and donating online.

The Jaycees hope to bring live concerts back to McGrath Amphitheatre later this summer.

Iowa City Mercer Park food pantry postponed to Friday

Because of the threat of bad weather Thursday, HACAP’s mobile food pop-up pantry at Iowa City’s Mercer Park has been postponed to Friday from noon to 2 p.m. Enter off Dover Street.

Musical postponed for a year at UNI

Due to the unprecedented situation surrounding COVID-19, the world premiere of “The Suffragist” will be postponed until 2021.


The musical will now run July 16-18, 2021 at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center on the University of Northern Iowa campus. Current ticket holders will be contacted shortly. Any questions regarding ticketing can be directed to UNITix at 1-877-549-7469 or

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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.

All donations are tax-deductible.