State of Iowa Changes Business Practices during COVID-19

23 Mar 2020

Monday, March 16th, the House and Senate worked all day and passed around midnight – a resolution suspending the session until April 15th and a bill (SF 2408) that contained the following provisions:

  • Supplemental appropriations of $525,000 for the processing of COVID-19 testing kits at the State Hygienic Laboratory, $89 million for Medicaid, $1.7 million for the Hawk-I children’s insurance program, and $600,000 for the Glenwood Resource Center,
  • Emergency spending authority of up to 10% of the State’s $190 million Economic Emergency Fund for the Governor to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak (with authority to go higher with approval from the Legislative Council),
  • A waiver of the 180 day school year requirement for this year, and
  • State program funding at last year’s levels for the first two months of FY 2021 (July and August) just in case the Legislature is unable to pass a budget before the end of the fiscal year on June 30th.

Both bills passed both chambers unanimously, and the Governor signed SF 2408 into law right away on March 17th, 2020. The Iowa Capitol is officially closed to the public.

Governor Reynolds also declared a State Public Health Disaster Emergency activating the public health response and recovery aspects of the State Disaster Emergency plan. The plan is extensive, so you have an interest, check it out in full HERE. Some of the highlights include:

  • Closing of businesses such as bars, gyms, theaters, etc. Restaurants are allowed to conduct business, but only for take-out, drive-through or delivery orders. Additional precautions now include the closure of salons, spas, and tattoo parlors through March 31st. 
  • Allows state agencies additional flexibility in addressing COVID-19 and public health issues
  • Removes regulations on health care providers, institutions, tele-medicine, etc.
  • Any driver's license which expired within the last 60 days will be valid and will not expire
  • Suspension of the requirement that stores accept used bottles and cans for redemption

Iowans can stay informed and connected at any of these links:

  • Iowa Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 Page - HERE
  • Center of Disease Control’s (CDC) COVID-19 Page - HERE
  • Employers and Employees can find information on the Iowa Workforce Development’s Page - HERE and at the Small Business Administration’s COVID-19 page - HERE
  • People that are having trouble coping during the COVID-19 pandemic can find resources from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center -HERE
  • In Wapello County, please check for your latest updates from Wapello Emergency Management Agency