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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issues statewide mask mandate as case counts soar

After more than 52,000 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported statewide in the past two weeks, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced a mask mandate for all indoor public spaces and new social distancing restrictions at a press conference on Monday, Nov. 16.

Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, Iowa has surged to over 200 COVID-19 hospitalizations per day, as of late October. One out of every four patients in Iowa hospitals are hospitalized due to COVID-19, and this is pushing the state’s healthcare system to the brink, Reynolds said.

Beginning at midnight on Nov. 17, Iowans will be required to wear a mask that fully covers their mouth and nose in all indoor public spaces. Though mask usage has been relatively commonplace in Grinnell, in part due to the efforts of the Mask Up Grinnell campaign, their usage will be now required.

All indoor gatherings are now restricted to 15 people or less, and outdoor gatherings to no more than 30. Professional workplaces who find it necessary to gather in larger groups are exempt. Reynolds also introduced additional mitigation measures, including the halting of recreational sports and requiring all bars to close by 10 p.m.

Reynolds encouraged Iowans to follow the new measures diligently. “There isn’t enough law enforcement in the country to make sure that every Iowan is wearing a mask when they should,” she said. “If Iowans don’t buy into this, we lose.”

Reynolds and other Republican governors have been reluctant to issue mask mandates during the pandemic. Ultimately, Reynolds closed by saying that these restrictions aren’t about mandates or about governments; they’re necessary for the health and safety of Iowans.

“Now is the time to come together for the greater good, to look out for each other – not because you’re told to – but because it’s the right thing to do.”

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Nina Baker, Staff Writer
Nina Baker is a fourth-year Russian major with a Russian, Central European and Eurasian Studies concentration from Lakeville, Minnesota. When she's not reporting for The Scarlet & Black, she loves taking long walks, reading, and learning foreign languages.
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