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Iowa Rolls Back Coronavirus Restrictions

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a new public health disaster proclamation Friday that will ease previous public health regulations geared to controlling the coronavirus.

Starting Sunday, Iowa residents will no longer be required to wear masks. Reynolds' previous order, which was put into place last November, required individuals to wear masks when indoors in a public space and within six feet of individuals who are not part of their household.

Instead, her new proclamation "strongly encouraged" residents with medical conditions and those over the age of 65 to limit activities outside of their home. Those who are not at substantial risk should limit their interactions with those more susceptible to the virus, Friday's proclamation said.

Additionally, Iowans will no longer be held to 15 people for indoor gatherings, or 30 if outdoors. Reynolds strongly encouraged event organizers to take reasonable measures to protect the health of their guests as well as the public, the order said.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported three confirmed cases of the variant first discovered in the United Kingdom on Monday. The variant is believed to spread easier than the original strain of COVID-19. IDPH also encouraged residents to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Dustin Jones is a reporter for NPR's digital news desk. He mainly covers breaking news, but enjoys working on long-form narrative pieces.