Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a new health proclamation Friday that relaxed many of the state’s existing COVID-19 regulations.
Among the policy reversals in the Public Health Disaster proclamation are the removal of the indoor mask requirements in public spaces and the social distancing requirements that previously regulated limits on social gatherings and businesses. The new policies go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, KCCI reports.
In the document, Reynolds states, “I strongly encourage that all businesses or other employers remain open with in-person operations take reasonable measures under the circumstances of each establishment to ensure the health of employees, patrons and members of the public, including social distancing practices, increased hygiene practices and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.”
Reynolds’s office said in a statement that the new measures will “continue critical regulatory relief to those on the frontlines of COVID19 recovery for an additional 30 days.”
It remains unclear why Reynolds decided to loosen coronavirus restrictions, and the governor’s office did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.
Shortly after the announcement, “CovidKim” began trending on Twitter as social media users criticized the governor’s actions.
— heather (@hthrnnclrk) February 6, 2021
— Theresa Wilson (@IowaMsAnthrope) February 5, 2021
— Kevin Gannon misses Grogu (@TheTattooedProf) February 6, 2021
Although the state has experienced a decline in coronavirus cases in recent months, 804 confirmed new cases of the virus were recorded on Friday morning, the Des Moines Register reported.
According to the Iowa Department of Health, the state has experienced 323,516 cases of the coronavirus and 5,067 deaths from the virus since the pandemic began. In the last seven days, 7.1 percent of tests have come back positive.