“l spent some time with some of her staff members over the weekend, urging her to take a more regional approach, because I don’t think you can take the whole state as one entity,” Scott told the Journal.
Citing "significant constitutional liberties involved,” Reynolds said Monday she also is lifting a ban on religious and spiritual gatherings statewide. That means churches in all counties, including Woodbury, may resume in-person worship services, weddings and funerals starting this weekend, regardless of the size of gathering.
Under the order Reynolds signed Monday, restaurants in the selected counties may reopen their dining rooms on Friday, but must limit seating to no more than half of their rated occupancy.
In Northwest Iowa, restaurant owners greeted the news with a mixture of enthusiasm and frustration.
Dine-in service has been prohibited in Iowa restaurants and bars for six weeks, since Reynolds issued the first in a series of emergency orders to combat the spread of the virus. Establishments have been limited to drive-thru, carryout or delivery services.
Clint Kass, general manager of the 4 Brothers Bar & Grill locations in Le Mars and Sioux Center, spent much of Monday figuring out the logistics of reopening with fewer tables and diners.
"I was talking about that with our staff in Sioux Center this morning," Kass said. "I told them to follow every regulation to the letter of the law. We do not want to jeopardize anybody's health because the crisis is far from over."
The Le Mars and Sioux Center fine dining restaurants shut down immediately after Reynolds issued her March 17 order.
"We couldn't be more excited to open our doors again," Kass said. "Everybody is ready to get back to work."
Bob's Drive Inn -- a popular Le Mars drive-through eatery managed by Kass' brother, Nathan, remained open for carry out food. Nathan Kass said Bob's will reopen its dining room on Friday, with 50 percent less seating.
Known for fast food fare like chili dogs and loosemeat taverns, the eatery stayed busy even after the state imposed the COVID-19 restrictions, he said.
"We've been slammed from open 'till closing," Nathan Kass said. "While other restaurants have been suffering, we’ve been fortunate."
Some other restaurants that continued to operate with only drive-thru, carryout or delivery service have reported losing as much as 80 to 90 percent of their business.
Niki Coughlin finishes up a piece of inspirational chalk art Monday, April 20 on a Sixth Street sidewalk near MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center. Coughlin, a biomedical science instructor at the Sioux City Community School District's Career Academy, was finishing up artwork being done by Career Academy heath sciences students. The students are also planning on doing chalk art Tuesday at UnityPoint Health -- St. Luke's.
Michelle Bloom, right, and Trisha Yockey meet for lunch in Sertoma Park in Sioux City, Iowa. The two women are best friends and they worked together at Whispering Creek Dental before COVID-19 forced them to shut down, April 21, 2020.
A person parked in their car along Dakota Avenue in South Sioux City holds a sign of support for Tyson plant workers during the traditional shift change time April 22. An outbreak of COVID-19 sickened hundreds of workers and forced Tyson to temporarily shut down its Dakota City beef plant in early May.
A person parked in their car along Dakota Avenue in South Sioux City holds a sign of support for Tyson plant workers during the traditional shift change time Wednesday afternoon. Eight vehicles were parked along the street, the main route to Tyson Fresh Meats' Dakota City beef processing complex, with people holding signs in support of workers.
Dave Henderson, right, and Darrel Engelking, left, stock shelves at Food Pride in Ida Grove, Iowa, Thursday, April 23, 2020. The county had not recorded a COVID-19 case at that time, among the last counties in Siouxland with that distinction.
East High School sophomore Mazzy Pick makes a colorful fish outside of a resident's window at Bickford Retirement Community. A unique program in which high school students develop friendships with senior citizens has attracted national attention after being profiled in the New York Times.
Park Jefferson Speedway races held despite COVID-19
Bob Dowdle guards the gate of the empty visitors entrance at Park Jefferson Speedway where, despite COVID-19, the races are held without spectators, Saturday, April 25, 2020, in North Sioux City, S.D..
"We cater events, deliver corporate lunches, run a lunchtime buffet while doing a brisk takeout and delivery business at night," Ferris explained. "When the governor closed down the state, we effectively lost three of the four legs overnight."
For now, Sneaky's hopes to keep busy with an expanded takeout trade for its signature broasted chicken, burgers and sandwiches.
In the 77 counties where restrictions are being lifted Friday, bars that prepare and serve food on site — beyond snacks or commercially prepared items like frozen pizzas — are considered restaurants and can reopen, Reynolds' office said.
Retail stores also will be allowed to reopen in designated counties Friday, but play areas in malls must remain closed and mall food courts will be limited to carry-out orders, the governor said.
Theaters, casinos, barbershops, salons, museums, playgrounds and swimming pools will remain closed statewide.
The orders came as Iowa has seen an explosion of coronavirus cases that one study found was the fastest increase in the nation over a recent seven-day period.
Like metro Sioux City, home to the 4,300-employee Tyson Fresh Meats beef plant in neighboring Dakota City, Waterloo and some other cities with meat plants have particularly fast-growing case counts.
Iowa's statewide cases grew by 349 to more than 5,800 on Monday, its death toll increased by nine to 127 and the number of patients hospitalized hit 300 for the first time.
Public health officials have said they don’t expect the pandemic in Iowa to peak for another two weeks and that an Iowa-specific forecast remains in development.
Reynolds said she had taken “significant mitigation measures to protect Iowans” but that they weren’t sustainable and have unintended consequences. She said it was time to shift toward managing the virus in a way that balances health and economic concerns.
State officials will closely monitor activities and make adjustments either to open more of the state up or scale down if trends go in the wrong direction, she said.
“We can protect lives and secure livelihoods at the same time,” she said.
Reynolds said that she was urging vulnerable populations, such as people over age 60 and with underlying health conditions, to take precautions. She said everyone should “practice personal responsibility” when deciding whether to travel to reopened counties to eat or shop.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts last week took a similar approach to Reynolds as part of his plan to reopen the Cornhusker state's economy. Starting May 4, Nebraska will relax restrictions on restaurant and other businesses in 59 counties. The list includes the Northeast Nebraska counties of Cedar, Dixon, Wayne and Thurston.
Those who have had close contact with the individual were notified to ensure that they are self-monitoring for symptoms and, if appropriate, receiving medial attention and isolating from others, the company said.
A proclamation issued Monday by Gov. Kim Reynolds lifted restrictions on in-person religious and spiritual gatherings, even as the state experienced one of the nation's fastest growth rate in coronavirus cases.
Iowa's relaxing of retail restrictions comes as Woodbury and neighboring Dakota County, Nebraska, continue to experience one of the nation's fastest COVID-19 growth rates. Malls, dentists and medical spas are among the businesses that can reopen.
Clint Kass sits in the empty dining room of 4 Brothers Bar & Grill in Le Mars, Iowa, Monday. Kass' 4 Brothers locations in Le Mars and Sioux Center, which has been closed since Gov. Kim Reynolds issued COVID-19 related order on March 17, will be allowed to reopen Friday under a new directive the governor signed Monday for 77 counties, including Plymouth and Sioux.