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This Governor Changes Course, Imposes Restrictions

After refusing a mask mandate the entire pandemic, this state has finally switched gears.
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Despite the surge of COVID cases across the country — resulting in an inevitable spike in hospitalizations and, inevitably, deaths — some governors have been hesitant to tighten up coronavirus restrictions. For example, in Iowa, where the number of cases has increased from around 250 new infections per day in August to over 5,500 in November, Gov. Kim Reynolds has refused to issue a mask mandate — up until now. On Monday, the Republican politician changed gears, amping up restrictions as cases are spiraling out of control. Read on to hear what's allowed and what isn't, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

The Governor Issued the State's First Mask Mandate

Reynolds, who once dubbed COVID restrictions as "feel-good" measures, finally issued the state's first mask mandate, which went into effect on Tuesday. The three-week proclamation, signed by the governor, requires residents over the age of 2 to wear masks in indoor public spaces. 

Additionally, gatherings for social, community, business and leisure purposes have been limited to no more than 15 people indoors and 30 outdoors — including family events. Bar and restaurant operating hours have also been restricted to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., however, carryout and drive-through are available at all hours.

The new restrictions only apply when people are within 6 feet of others for 15 minutes or more. They also make the exception for classrooms, routine office or factory work, or spiritual gatherings.

"No one wants to do this. I don't want to do this," she said. "If Iowans don't buy into this, we'll lose. Businesses will close once again, more schools will be forced to go online, and our health care system will fail. The cost in human life will be high."

Last week the state broke their record of new infections with 5,500 cases reported in a single day. According to the COVID Tracking Project, 1,392 people are currently being treated in hospitals in the state, 271 of them in ICU.

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Says Most People Did This Before Catching COVID

How to Survive the Pandemic

In July, when it was recommended that Iowan should be locked down due to a spike in the virus, Reynolds refused. "No, I'm not going to mandate masks. I trust Iowans. I believe in Iowans," she told WHO radio at the time. "There's no way to enforce it. Most of the states or entities that have done that, they've actually gone as far as to say we're not going to enforce it, so it's just kind of a feel-good."

As for yourself, "feel good" by doing everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear your face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, stay outdoors more than indoors. "We have seen what happens when you don't do that by the very unfortunate experiences that have become very public now in the United States. I mean, that's proof positive," says Dr. Anthony Fauci. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.