You may have to wait a bit to get a seat, but on Friday, May 1, Monroe Countians, along with citizens in 76 other counties will be able to eat sit down at their favorite restaurant (with some restrictions). South Central Iowa counties were among the 76 with relaxed shutdown rules.

Gov. Kim Reynolds actually started to loosen COVID-19 restrictions last Friday with the announcement that hospitals could begin seeing “non-essential” patients and doing surgeries beginning Monday.

Gov. Reynolds announced Monday that the state will start taking a "targeted approach" to loosening restrictions across the state.

Reynolds said starting May 1 she would be lifting certain restrictions in counties that are seeing stabilization and downward trends with COVID-19. Monroe County, along with Lucas, Davis and Wayne Counties, have yet to have a reported COVID-19 positive test. Appanoose County had two reported victims, but both of those people have since died.

On Friday restaurants, fitness centers and retail stores in 77 of Iowa's 99 counties can reopen at 50 percent of their normal operating capacity. Reynolds added that malls may reopen at 50 percent capacity as well, but play areas and food court dining will remain closed.

The governor says social and recreational sporting events will continue to be limited to 10 people. But limits involving spiritual and religious gatherings will be lifted in the 76 counties.

Reynolds said businesses and churches approved for reopening must adhere to social distancing measures and guidelines from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Reynolds has also allowed libraries to open as well, so long as they operate at 50 percent of their capacity. Speedways and race tracks will also be able to reopen so long as they do not permit any spectators to attend in person.

All other closures will be extended for the entire state through May 15. This includes the following:

• Bars are to remain closed, but can still offer carry-out, drive-thru or delivery services.

• All theaters are to remain closed.

• Casinos or any other facility conducting pari-mutuel wagering or gaming operations are to remain closed.

• Social and Fraternal clubs are to remain closed.

• All bingo halls, bowling alleys, pool halls, arcades and amusement parks shall remain closed.

• Museums, aquariums and zoos are to remain closed.

• Playgrounds, campgrounds and swimming pools are to remain closed.

• Salons, medical spas, tattoo establishments, barbershops, tanning facilities and massage therapy establishments will remain closed.

While some restrictions are being lifted in parts of Iowa, Reynolds is still urging older Iowans or anyone with severe health conditions to continue to remain at home.

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