Iowa to end COVID-19 restrictions starting Monday: no mask mandate, no social distancing, no gathering limits

by Peter Heck · Feb 9th, 2021 6:36 am

Last Updated Feb 12th, 2021 at 7:35 pm

Republican Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa announced that starting Monday, the citizens of Iowa would be making their own decisions relative to coronavirus: no more mask requirement, no more social distancing requirement, no more limits on public gatherings.

Governor Reynolds said that she still "strongly encouraged all vulnerable Iowans" to take precautions like limiting activities outside their homes including large gatherings. But rather than limiting the freedoms of citizens to make their own decisions, Reynolds said her office was limiting itself to the role of making recommendations instead of mandates.

The state had imposed new restrictions in November after cases surged in Iowa, as they had around the country. But with COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths all plummeting, Governor Reynolds decided to allow businesses like bars, restaurants, casinos, gyms, and sporting events to make their own responsible decisions.

Two Iowa cities, Des Moines and Iowa City, both announced that they would not be following the lead of Governor Reynolds, and would instead leave their citywide mask mandates in place, along with other government-imposed mitigating strategies. The mayors of both those cities are Democrats.

But Iowa's Democrat Attorney General Tom Miller has stated that he does not believe cities have the authority or legal right to enforce mask mandates. That could lead to an interesting political dynamic if Miller has to litigate against the two Democrat mayors relative to Governor Reynolds' new order.


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