After Gov. Kim Reynolds’ signed her most recent public health proclamation on Wednesday, certain Linn County businesses are faced with the decision on whether or not to reopen.
As part of the proclamation, tanning salons, medical spas, campgrounds and drive-in movie theaters may reopen statewide. Dental procedures can resume, and golf course clubhouses can reopen and serve food.
Malls, fitness centers and other retail businesses may also reopen in the 22 counties where restrictions have remained, which includes Linn and Johnson.
Linn County Public Health’s Clinical Services Supervisor Heather Meador said there is a business work group in the county developing recommendations and guidance for businesses that decide to reopen. These recommendations will be finalized soon, Meador said during Thursday’s LCPH press conference.
Once the recommendations are finalized, they will be distributed through the Marion Economic Development Corporation and Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, as well as be posted online on the LCPH website and the Gazette’s business resource page.
Meador acknowledged the “hard decision” business owners are facing when it comes to whether or not to reopen.
“We encourage business owners and organizations to carefully consider their decision to reopen and to not feel pressured if they are not ready,” Meador said. “If you decide not to reopen at this time, that is OK. We know that this is a hard decision for many businesses as you look to protect your employees and to protect the public.”
“We want to remind you that reopening does not mean that you no longer need to worry about COVID-19 in the community. We continue to see community spread of COVID-19 in Linn County.”
Linn County campgrounds reopening
Linn County Conservation announced on Thursday that Buffalo Creek Park, Morgan Creek Park, Pinicon Ridge Park and Squaw Creek Park campgrounds will be open to campers, starting at 5 a.m. Friday. The campgrounds were closed in early April to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Campers may only camp with a self-contained camping unit with a functioning restroom since shower houses with flushable restrooms are still closed. Self-contained is defined as a “tent or pop-up camper with a portable toilet or an RV or camping trailer with a functioning bathroom.”
There is a limit of six people per campsite, unless a household is more than six, and no visitors are allowed. Campfires are limited to only those who are at the campsite. Social distancing guidelines should be followed in the campground and in other areas of the park.
Campgrounds continue to be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. Squaw Creek Park A-Loop will begin accepting online reservations starting at 1 p.m. on Friday, with the first available date being Thursday, May 14.
Update on Test Iowa in Cedar Rapids
Linn County’s Test Iowa site opened in Cedar Rapids at noon on Thursday and ran until 6 p.m., said Steve O’Konek, coordinator with the county’s Emergency Management Agency.
The site will also be open from noon to 6 p.m. on Friday. Starting on Monday, May 11, the site will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays until Thursday, May 21, according to O’Konek.
The test site is located at Kirkwood’s Continuing Education Training Center, 101 50th Ave SW, and testing is conducted by appointment only. LCPH is encouraging residents to complete the online assessment, Meador said. Priority will be given to essential workers and first responders, Supervisor Stacey Walker said during his remarks.
If an individual qualifies for testing through Test Iowa after filling out an online assessment, they will be notified and contacted to schedule an appointment for a drive-through test. Meador also mentioned that anyone with questions about Test Iowa should go to the Test Iowa website or contact the governor’s office at 515-281-5211.
Individuals with other questions about testing are encouraged to tune into LCPH’s virtual town hall Friday at noon, since this week’s topic is COVID-19 testing.
Doctors and other experts from UnityPoint Health, Mercy Medical Center and LCPH will provide information and answer questions from community members.
The event will be held through GoToMeeting and can be accessed by going online or by dialing in from a phone. Those accessing the town hall from a phone may call 571-317-3129 and enter access code 477-649-277.