Beginning this week, the State of Iowa is taking additional steps to enforce compliance with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds’ emergency public health disaster proclamation regarding coronavirus mitigation efforts for social distancing and advanced hygiene practices at state bars, restaurants and food establishments.

The announcement was made July 30. The department has been collecting information about noncompliance, but was unable to take any administrative action prior to this decree from the Governor.

Gov. Reynolds’ proclamation requires establishments to create at least 6 feet of physical distance between each group or individual dining or drinking alone and all patrons must have a seat at a table or bar; and an establishment must limit patrons from congregating together closer than 6 feet.

Failure to adhere to the current proclamation could mean fines and other suspensions, outlined as follows:

• For businesses with an alcoholic beverage permit or license, the Alcoholic Beverages Division will issue a $1,000 fine for the first offense. For businesses with only a food license, the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (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 7-day suspension of the business’ alcohol permit or license by the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD), as well as a 7-day suspension by DIA of the business’ food license.

• A third infraction triggers the revocation of all food and alcohol permits and licenses for the offending business.

According to DIA Director Larry Johnson, "Public safety is of the utmost importance. 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.”

“COVID-19 is still with us and we need bars and restaurants to help mitigate the spread of the virus,” said Iowa ABD Administrator Stephen Larson. “For those businesses that choose not to, they need to understand that there are consequences.”