News 5.20.20: Reopening Iowa, Local Museums, Parks Update and Siouxland Hot Spot
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds is easing more restrictions in the state of Iowa. Starting on Friday, movie theatres, museums, zoos and wedding venues will open with social distancing guidelines in place. Pools can reopen for lesson and laps.
On Thursday, May 28th bars can open at 50% capacity.
However, public museums in Sioux City will stay closed on Friday. That includes the Sioux City Art Center. A spokesperson says there will be a gradual reopening of facilities.
The LaunchPad Children’s Museum issued a statement after hearing today’s development. It says “the facility is committed to providing a safe place for play. We are looking forward to announcing an opening date, but until all safety procedures and supplies are in place We do not feel comfortable to reopen.
Governor Reynolds says the state can still protect the health of Iowans as well as the economy.
“I believe in Iowans and our businesses. It’s not a mandate. If they feel comfortable putting in place mitigation efforts and feel like they can open, they can.”
School activities and learning will resume on June 1st, including high school baseball and softball with restrictions that will be released during the Governor’s news conference on Thursday.
Also reopening in time for Memorial Day activities are state campground restrooms, showers and cabins. Camping will be allowed for tents and all campers, but playgrounds, shelters and visitor centers remain closed.
Meanwhile, the state reported 14 more deaths for a total of 381 Iowans who have died of complications of COVID-19. There were two more deaths in Woodbury County and one in Dakota County for a total of 29 deaths for both counties. There are less than a dozen new cases for either county with a total count of more than 3,900 people infected with the virus. Statewide there are more than 15,500.
If you look at the rate of infection in western Iowa, Crawford County is on top with more than 400 positive cases or about 2.4% of people testing positive for the virus. Woodbury County is close behind at more than 2.3%. Test Iowa sites were set up at Western Iowa Tech in Sioux City and in the Crawford County community of Denison. The governor’s office says the two sites and one in Storm Lake tested a total of 300 people on Monday.
In Nebraska, seven more people have died from the coronavirus in Nebraska and the state has confirmed 221 more cases.
The new numbers from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services bring the total number of deaths to 132 and known cases to almost 11,000..
The number of new patients has been trending downward since a peak of 677 new cases on May 7, but public health officials say it’s important to continue taking precautions such as social distancing.
The number of deaths in South Dakota remained at 46 people and there are almost 4,200 positive cases.
Gov. Noem says South Dakota is seeing “fantastic” trends in the projected rates of coronavirus in the state.
Creighton University has furloughed 190 employees and made several other spending cuts because of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
Creighton officials expect they need cut at least $35 million from the university’s budget to offset declining revenue from tuition and fees.
The university said it will contributions to employee retirement plans on July 1, and top executives will take a pay cut.
Creighton said it also won’t pay merit raises this year and will cut discretionary spending.
Officials said additional cuts could be needed depending on enrollment levels.
Employees at a Smithfield pork processing plant in South Dakota where a coronavirus outbreak infected over 800 people saw something new as they showed up to work.
They were greeted Wednesday by nearly a dozen Sioux Falls residents with thank you signs, cheers and waves.
The event was organized by a group of friends who wanted to give meatpacking workers a show of support similar to what health care workers have received during the pandemic.
Smithfield has instructed many workers to return to work this week as it looks to scale up operations by the end of the month.