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Reynolds ends most mandates aimed at slowing virus spread

February 5, 2021 GMT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Friday that she would end most restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus in Iowa.

Reynolds issued a proclamation that removes a mask requirement for those spending 15 minutes or more in an indoor area within 6 feet of people not in their household. She also ended mask requirements for those in state buildings and some businesses, such as barber shops.

The governor’s new order also ends limits on the number of customers in a business or a requirement that they stay socially distant.

Reynolds issued the earlier restrictions in November when hospitals were struggling to care for a surge of coronavirus patients. Those numbers have dropped, though the state typically reports dozens of deaths each day.

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On Friday, the state reported another 34 deaths, bringing the total to 5,067 killed by the virus.

The new rules take effect Sunday.

Despite ending the restrictions, Reynolds in her proclamation said, “I continue to strongly encourage all vulnerable Iowans, including those with preexisting medical conditions and those older than 65, in all counties of the state to continue to limit their activities outside of their home, including their visits to businesses and other establishments and their participation in gatherings of any size and any purpose.”