Sheltering in place

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

As we continue on through this uncertain time with COVID-19, I receive a lot of questions. I am always happy to help sort through those issues on a case-by-case basis, but thought it might be helpful to include an update with the most frequently asked questions.

What is the difference between other states declaring "shelter in place" and what Iowa is doing?


Gov. Reynolds tweeted recently that she and Gov. Rickets (of Nebraska) spoke with Dr. Anthony Fauci over the phone to discuss "shelter-in-place." The governor said the phone call was productive, and Dr. Fauci was "100% supportive, saying that Iowa and Nebraska are 'on the same page' with guidance he's providing other states."

Transcript of Dr. Anthony Fauci's comments from Monday's Coronavirus Task Force press conference:

"I had good conversations with the Governor of Nebraska and the Governor of Iowa. It's interesting that functionally even though they have not given a strict stay-at-home order, what they are doing, is really functionally equivalent to that. We had a really good conversation with both of the governors. When I had mentioned that, I think there was a public response that they weren't really doing anything at all, and they really are doing a very good job, both of them. Those were the only two that I spoke to, but it was a really good conversation and I want to make sure people understand that just because they don't have a very strict stay-at-home order, they have in place a lot of things that are totally compatible with what everyone else is doing."

Gov. Reynolds has faced pressure to issue a "shelter-in-place" order. She has resisted such efforts so far, stating that Iowa is already doing the same things, sometimes more, than what other states with formal orders are doing. Below are a few examples of where this is happening:


Gov. Tim Walz formally issued a "shelter-in-place" order on March 25. Shortly before issuing his executive order, Gov. Walz required non-essential businesses to close. About 78% of Minnesota's workforce is exempted from this order due to working in essential industries. According to Gov. Reynolds, 80-81% of Iowa's workforce is considered essential.


Gov. J.B. Pritzker formally issued a "shelter-in-place" order on March 20. The Illinois Department of Public Health has recommended, but not required, that elective surgeries be cancelled. Gov. Reynolds required all non-essential medical and dental procedures to be cancelled on March 26.


Gov. Doug Ducey formally issued a "shelter-in-place" order on March 30. On April 3, Gov. Ducey required all barbershops, beauty and nail salons, spas, tattoo parlors and public pools to close effective April 4. Gov. Reynolds required these establishments to close on March 22.

What businesses must close pursuant to the governor's proclamations? 

• Restaurants and bars; 

•Fitness centers, health clubs, health spas, gyms and aquatic centers; 

• Swimming pools and spas, wading pools, water slides, wave pools, spray pads and bath houses; 

• Salons, including all establishments providing the services of cosmetology, electrology, esthetics, nail technology, manicuring and pedicuring; 

• Medical spas

• Barbershops

• Tattoo establishments 

• Tanning facilities

• Massage therapy establishments

• Theaters at which live performances or motion pictures are shown

• Casinos and other facilities conducting pari-mutuel wagering or gaming operations

• Bookstores

• Clothing stores

• Shoe stores

• Jewelry stores

• Luggage stores

• Cosmetic, beauty or perfume stores

• Florists 

• Furniture and home furnishing stores

• Senior citizen centers and adult daycare facilities

• Tobacco, cigarette, cigar or vaping stores 

• Enclosed malls, including interior common areas and any retail establishment that only accessible to the public from the interior common areas

• Social and fraternal clubs, including but not limited to American Legion or VFW posts, elk clubs, country clubs and golf course clubhouses

• Bingo halls, bowling alleys, pool halls, arcades and amusement parks

• Museums, aquariums and zoos

• Race tracks and speedways

• Indoor or outdoor roller or ice skating rinks and skate parks 

• Outdoor or indoor playgrounds or children's play centers, not including playgrounds in private residences or childcare facilities

• Public and private campgrounds; and 

• Door-to-door sales. 

This closure order does not affect other retail establishments, such as discount stores, grocery stores or pharmacies that sell these goods in addition to other essential food, medical supplies and household goods.