Linn County Bars To Reopen, Johnson County To Remain Closed
The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has revised her initial order on bar closures that she issued on August 27th. The revision allows bars in Black Hawk, Dallas, Linn, and Polk counties to reopen as of 5 p.m. this evening. Bars in Johnson and Story county will remain closed. Those two counties are the homes of Iowa and Iowa State universities.
The initial order in late August was issued due to a spike in COVID-19 cases as college students returned to class. The Gazette reports that bar owners in Johnson and Story counties are disappointed they didn't have their restrictions lifted. One bar owner questioned how much of a difference one weekend would make. However, data shows that both counties still have positivity rates above 15%, while the other counties have dropped far below that rate.
The governor's new order allows bars, taverns, wineries, breweries, distilleries, nightclubs, country clubs, and wedding reception venues to reopen in the four designated counties. The Gazette reports that it also removes the restriction on restaurants serving alcohol after 10 p.m. Social distancing requirements will remain in effect in all bars and restaurants.
The Gazette reports that Governor Reynolds has implemented a state program offering one time $10,000 grants to eligible bars and restaurants who have affected by the closure. Reynolds calls the program a stopgap until "we can get them back open and I'm hoping we can do that next week."