Iowa stepping up enforcement of social distancing requirements for restaurants, bars

Source: MGN Image
Source: MGN Image(KWQC)
Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 6:22 AM CDT
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(KWQC) - Iowa officials on Thursday said they are stepping up enforcement of social distancing and hygiene requirements at bars, restaurants, and other food establishments.

The Alcoholic Beverages Division and Department of Inspections and Appeals said in a media release they will work together to ensure that businesses follow public health guidelines set forth by Gov. Kim Reynolds’ emergency public health disaster in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

To promote social distancing and limit the spread of the coronavirus, the proclamation requires establishments to create at least six feet of physical distance between each group or individual dining or drinking alone, all patrons must have a seat at a table or bar, and an establishment must limit patrons from congregating together closer than six feet.

“Public safety is of the utmost importance,” DIA Director Larry Johnson said in the release. “Although a majority of bars and restaurants are voluntarily complying with social distancing requirements, we will take these necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of Iowans.”

Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division Administrator Stephen Larson added, “COVID-19 is still with us and we need bars and restaurants to help mitigate the spread of the virus.”

“For those businesses that choose not to, they need to understand that there are consequences.”

For businesses with an alcoholic beverage permit or license, ABD will issue a $1,000 fine for the first offense. For businesses with only a food license, DIA will issue a warning.

The second documented infraction for either a business with only a food license as well as those with both a food and alcohol permit or license will trigger a seven-day suspension of the business' alcohol permit or license by ABD, as well as a seven-day suspension by DIA of the business' food license, according to the release.

A third infraction will trigger the revocation of all food and alcohol permits and licenses for the offending business, according to the release.

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