MASON CITY, Iowa - This past Sunday, many COVID-19 restrictions on Iowa businesses were lifted thanks to an order from Governor Kim Reynolds. While the Governor is still encouraging Iowans to follow safe practices while out in public, the move has caused some backlash from state representatives.
State Senator Amanda Ragan and State Representative Sharon Steckman were both surprised by Reynolds' move. Though the positive case average, as well as hospitalizations and deaths, have dropped statewide, which the Governor's office has cited as the reason behind the move, the say the discovery of new strains in the state is troubling.
"There are many people that are concerned about this because their workplaces have changed because of this proclamation. The spread is very concerning," Ragan said.
"We've had a total of over 5,000 deaths now. We also have one of the variants now in Iowa, and that was discovered the same week. Johnson County and Bremer County have discovered the variants. Those two issues, and then all of a sudden, everything's pulled away. The masks...don't need those, and opening everything up. I think the timing was incredible," Steckman said.
On Monday, House and Senate Democrats asked the Iowa Department of Public Health if the Governor consulted the agency before issuing the proclamation. Director Dr. Kelly Garcia said the department was not consulted on the decision.
"This is a very concerning direction to go when we see so many other opportunities to make it worse by doing this," Ragan added.
KIMT also reached out to both State Representative Shannon Latham and State Senator Waylon Brown to get their thoughts on the move. So far, we have not yet heard from them.