Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a new public health disaster proclamation on Friday, which will eliminate most of the Coronavirus restrictions. After the announcement of the proclamation which removes mask requirements, gathering limits, and restrictions on businesses, many social media users criticized the move, causing a new trend on Twitter--'#CovidKim'.
Effective at 12:01 AM on Sunday, February 7, the proclamation "strongly encourages Iowans, businesses and organizations" to take required measures consistent with guidance from the state Department of Public Health, said Pat Garrett, a spokesperson for the Governor's Office.
According to the proclamation, "I [Kim Reynolds] strongly encourage that all businesses or other employers remain open with in-person operations take reasonable measures under the circumstances of each establishment to ensure the health of employees, patrons and members of the public, including social distancing practices, increased hygiene practices and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19."
Experts from all around the world have been urging people to keep a safe distance, follow restrictions and wear masks, which is the most effective and useful practice to reduce virus transmission.
At this time when new Coronavirus variants began to spread in several countries including the US, the 22-page proclamation doesn't say anything about the usefulness of "mask" or "face-covering".
But a previous proclamation included a section called "Avoidance of High-Risk Activities" where Reynolds urged Iowans to "consider how their choice to adhere to public health mitigation strategies impacts the spread of COVID-19 in their family and community."
The new order comes at the time when Iowa's Department of Public Health reported three confirmed cases of COVID-19, caused by the UK variant, which is found to be more transmissible. Experts said that this variant, B.1.1.7 can spread easier than the original strain of novel Coronavirus.
At a time like this, when new variants are waiting to become the dominated versions of the virus, vaccination can help people to become a victim. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US, Iowa's vaccination rate is 47 in the country.
Last week, Reynolds said in a press conference: "We're averaging about 60 percent in getting the vaccines administered and that's not where we need to be. We want to do better. We know we can do better."
After the new public health proclamation was signed by the governor people raised concern about the decision. One Twitter user said, "#CovidKim wants us all to have super bowl parties and spread the new variant apparently."
Another user wrote: "Teachers in Iowa haven't been able to get the vaccine. But #CovidKim is forcing them to go back to the classroom with no covid protections in place. If my daughter was a fetus #CovidKim would care. But my daughter is a teacher and a mother, and she will be in mortal danger."