Bars "Must Be Closed" in This State, White House Task Force Warns
Iowa, the state with the worst coronavirus outbreak in the country, has been advised to close all bars.
As summer winds down, the United States is also seeing a decline in coronavirus cases, with national numbers continuing to drop. But as some medical and public health experts initially feared, there are certain areas of the country that are bucking the national trend and seeing cases surge—especially in the Midwest and heartland. Now, the White House Coronavirus Task Force has warned that all bars "must be closed" in Iowa, the state that's home to the worst COVID outbreak in the country currently.
In an official report, the White House Coronavirus Task Force advises state officials in Iowa to take major action to curb the unprecedented coronavirus spike there, The Des Moines Register first reported. Based on its number of new cases—36.9 per day per 100,00 residents—and its positive test rate—18.2 percent—Iowa is considered to be in the red zone.
"Iowa is in the red zone for cases, indicating more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population last week, with the highest rate in the country," the Aug. 30 report reads. "Iowa is in the red zone for test positivity, indicating a rate above 10 percent, with the 5th highest rate in the country."
The White House Coronavirus Task Force therefore urges that "bars must be closed" and that indoor dining must be restricted to "25 percent of normal capacity." The White House also advises local officials to institute a statewide mask mandate and a mandatory COVID test for any returning college students.
The news of the White House's recommendation comes less than a week after Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that all bars, breweries, taverns, wineries, distilleries, and nightclubs in six counties across the state would have to close by 7 p.m. on Aug. 27 and would be required to stay shuttered until at least Sept. 20. However, Reynolds stopped short of issuing a statewide mask mandate, calling it "not enforceable" during a press conference.
Iowa is currently seeing an average of nearly 1,200 new coronavirus cases per day, which is a 127 percent increase from just two weeks earlier, according to The New York Times. And for more on where coronavirus is spiking, check out These Midwestern States Are Seeing a New Surge in COVID-19 Cases.