CORONAVIRUS

Gov. Kim Reynolds notes Iowa City's 'trend in the right direction' as Big Ten announces football return

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks at a news conference on Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Charlie Neibergall/
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks at a news conference on Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

During a Wednesday news conference, Gov. Kim Reynolds said she was not familiar with the criteria the Big Ten was using for resuming football but believed students in the Iowa City community were getting the message to take COVID-19 seriously after a spike in positive cases when fall classes began.

Currently, bars, taverns and other businesses providing alcoholic beverages in Johnson and Story counties — homes to the University of Iowa and Iowa State University, respectively — remain closed until Sept. 20 and restaurants must stop serving alcohol after 10 p.m. as a way to slow the COVID-19 spread.

“We’re seeing the trends trend in the right direction,” Reynolds said of the positive cases in the two college towns. “We’ll continue to manage and mitigate and contain” but she noted the temporary bar closure appear to have bought more Iowans in the 18-24 age range into compliance.

“I think they want to get the Big Ten up and going,” the governor said, “and so I think if we can continue to work together with the same goal, we’ll meet that criteria. I’m confident that we can get there and get that done.”

As far as whether UI officials should allow fans in the stands as ISU administrators first decided but later reversed course last week, Reynolds said that would be a decision made by the University of Iowa and the state Board of Regents.

The Big Ten said Wednesday tickets will not be sold to the public, but is looking into how to accommodate players’ families for home and away games.

“I really don’t have anything to do with that,” the governor told reporters Wednesday.

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“I think we can do these things in a safe and responsible manner. We just need to put the mitigation efforts in place — I’m talking about fans going to the game — but that’s a decision that they will make. I would be consistent in what I’ve been saying — if it’s half capacity or we just really think how we do it, I think eventually that can be done.”

Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@thegazette.com

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