DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds issued an order closing all hair and nail salons, pools, tanning facilities and tattoo parlors through March in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. But she is vowing to keep childcare open by looking to expand options statewide. (see link to map below)
The Governor's expansion of her disaster proclamation comes after cases of COVID-19 in Iowa doubled over the weekend to 90 cases in 24 counties. Included in that 90 are 6 people who have recovered from the virus. The state has also tested 1,215 people who tested negative for the illness.
The disaster proclamation also orders a suspension of foreclosures for select properties and eases requirements for professional licenses in order to enable medical staff to focus on caring for patients.
But Gov. Reynolds made it clear she does not intend to close childcare, and, in fact, is making efforts to expand it. The state is now tracking available childcare space and publishing it online to help parents find care.
Iowa's Governor is calling on schools, churches and others with space to open up childcare options, particularly for essential staff. She said Waterloo Schools are among those who have already committed to doing that.
Reynolds said her decision to ask Iowa schools to close for four weeks was different, noting "the impact of closing Childcare is significantly different." Reynolds said childcare is essential to allow essential staff to keep working and keep the economy working to pay for all the response efforts.
As part of keeping daycares open, the state announced new, stricter guidelines for those daycares to stay open. That included temperature screenings, removing plush toys and limiting class sizes to 10. Iowa DHS, which regulates daycares, says it will inspect new options to make sure it meets basic safety requirements.