CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Governor Kim Reynolds signed a new public health proclamation Friday afternoon lifting all COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and gatherings. The proclamation goes into effect on Sunday at 12:01 am.
It also removes the statewide mask mandate. Entities can still institute their own rules, and the proclamation encourages businesses to take “reasonable measures” to reduce the spread of the virus.
The Quarter Barrel Arcade & Brewery in downtown Cedar Rapids just reopened in January, with masks required and social distancing in place. ”We’ve limited our tables quite a bit, so we don’t have quite as much seating. We do require everyone to wear masks, and we do offer gloves and masks if they don’t have that. And they have to sanitize before they play the games and practice social distancing,” says Front of House Manager Shannon Breyfogle.
And despite Friday’s announcement, Breyfogle says those rules won’t be changing on Sunday. ”I thought it was kind of premature, but we are going to continue wearing our masks and trying to ask customers to as well,” says Breyfogle.
A few miles east — at the Starlite Room on First Avenue, customers will see some rules start to relax.
Sam Aossey, one of the owners of the Starlite Room, says staff will still wear masks and barriers between tables will stay up. But he says they’ll consider other changes, such as opening up bar seating, and customers will have the choice to wear a mask or not. “Rather than say you can’t enter, we’ll make a suggestion that they wear a mask. And it’s up to them to decide if they want to do or not,” says Aossey. He says the new proclamation could open up the possibility of hosting larger groups in their party room- a space that hasn’t seen much business over the last few months.
Even with those changes, Aossey says he doesn’t expect to see much of an impact on business. He says he’s not expecting to see a return to normal for at least a few months. “Nice to see things headed in a positive direction, but I think it’s still going to depend on how comfortable people are in getting out and going into restaurants and that sort of thing,” says Aossey.
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