Iowa to reopen restaurants, salons, barber shops and gyms

Restaurants, salons, barber shops and gyms in Iowa will be allowed to reopen Friday under new restrictions intended to slow the coronavirus, the governor announced.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday that she would lift an order closing restaurants in 22 counties, including the state’s largest metropolitan areas. Reynolds said she would also allow fitness centers, salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors and massage therapists to reopen in all 99 counties.

The move came as deaths from the virus in Iowa surged for the second straight day, surpassing 300 since the beginning of the pandemic. It also came as Reynolds and the state’s medical director self-isolated after potentially being exposed to the virus at the White House last week.

Reynolds said she felt confident reopening more of Iowa’s economy because the state has enough hospital beds and ventilators to treat patients and its testing capacity has increased. She said virus activity is declining in much of the state, as has the percentage of Iowa residents testing positive.

Restaurants in the state’s other 77 counties were allowed to reopen May 1, and malls, retail stores and churches have been reopened statewide.

Businesses are required to limit their customers to 50% of capacity, among other restrictions.