Citing a statewide increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate, Gov. Kim Reynolds Tuesday issued new mandates designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

During an 11 AM press conference, Reynolds announced that she has signed a resolution that continues the public health emergency for another 30 days in Iowa. The proclamation includes new restrictions on large-group gatherings that go into effect at midnight.

Under the proclamation, group gatherings of more than 25 people indoors and more than 100 people outdoors are prohibited unless those attending (over the age of 2) wear a mask. Groups attending all social, community, recreational, leisurely or sporting events are limited to eight people, unless those attending are from the same household. Reynolds' order requires groups to maintain social distancing from other groups while attending the event.

Additionally, only two spectators for each participant are permitted to attend youth or high school indoor recreational or sporting events.

“Like so many states, we’ve reached the point of community spread and we can no longer pin-point any age group or type of activity that’s driving it," Reynolds said. "The virus is spreading easily between people as they gather together in groups or go about their normal activities, especially when preventative measures like mask-wearing and social distancing aren’t being followed.”

Customers and employees are also now required to wear masks at business that provide personal services, such as: salons, barbershops, massage therapy establishments, tattoo establishments and tanning facilities.

Bars and restaurants continue to be required to ensure six feet of physical distance between each group or individual dining or drinking. All customers must sit at a table or bar and consume alcohol or food while seated. Bars and restaurants must limit people from congregating closer than six feet, and a group seated together is now limited to eight people unless the entire group is from the same household.

Bowling alleys, pool halls, bingo halls, arcades, indoor playgrounds, and children’s play centers are now required to ensure that groups and individuals remain six feet apart at each business. Groups at those establishments must also be limited to eight people, unless the entire group is from the same household.

According to the latest figures released by the Iowa Department of Public Health, 4,441 new positive COVID-19 cases and 27 additional deaths were reported across the state Tuesday. At 10 AM, the online dashboard showed a total of 161,257 cases, 102,914 total recoveries and 1,872 deaths since the pandemic began in March.

Tuesday morning, the data showed Iowa’s state-wide 14-day positivity rate was at 20.7%. The rate was above 15% in 90 of Iowa’s 99 counties.

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