Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed an emergency declaration designed to offer an array of relief to state residents as efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus also slow the economy.
The state public health emergency declaration, among other things, temporarily suspends collection of property taxes, some home evictions, and certain regulation fees and penalties. It also allows bars and restaurants to sell unopened bottles of alcohol for consumption off-premises.
The declaration comes as the first COVID-19 case on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City was reported. University officials say a dental student at the school is in isolation off-campus. Iowa now has 44 cases of COVID-19.
A state agency says four more cases of COVID-19 have been identified in three counties, bring the Nebraska total to 32.
One involves a Nemaha County man in his 60s who had recently traveled to Colorado. The state Health and Human Services Department said Thursday that another case is of a Sarpy County man who has underlying health issues. The two other people live in Lincoln County. One is a woman in her 40s who recently traveled to Colorado. The other person is a 20-something man who was in close contact with a person who already has tested positive.
The Sioux City School Board will pay all hourly employees during the time that classes are not in session, according to the Sioux City Journal. Monday was the first day that districts such as Sioux City did not hold classes.
The board, in a special Friday morning meeting, voted to pay all hourly employees at least up through late April, due to precautions taken to stem the coronavirus pandemic.
The board members voted 6-1 on that proposal, after not advancing a prior motion to pay all employees through the rest of the 2019-20 school year into June.
Those voting in the majority said there is uncertainty on whether school will resume on April 14, so making the decision for a much longer period wasn't necessary at the moment.
The board members said they got a lot of input on the topic from teachers, other district personnel and other community members. The final vote came after the one hour, 40-minute meeting that only included board members and a few district personnel, to achieve social distancing.
A new survey of bankers in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states suggests they expect the economy to slow down over the next few months as the nation deals with the coronavirus outbreak. The overall index for the region fell to 35.5 in March from February's healthy 51.6 reading. Any score below 50 suggests a shrinking economy. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss said 61 percent of the bankers surveyed expect the measures being taken to fight the coronavirus to lead to a recession. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming were surveyed.