Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds defended her decision to reopen businesses today despite a surge of coronavirus deaths, warning that a continued lockdown would come at a "social cost."
Restaurants, fitness centers, salons and barbershops reopened statewide for the first time in two months.
Some local officials said Reynolds was reopening the state too soon, particularly in areas that still have high numbers of cases. They urged their citizens to exercise caution in determining whether to visit businesses and to wear facial coverings in public.
At her daily press briefing, Reynolds announced that 18 more Iowans have died of the coronavirus, including 16 residents of long-term-care facilities. Sixty-five people have died over the last four days, bringing the state's total to 336.
The governor has called the deaths tragic but lagging indicators of the pandemic's severity. Instead, she has pointed to increased testing, declining percentages of people testing positive and available hospital resources as signs that Iowa can begin reopening.
Reynolds said she was concerned about rampant unemployment and increasing reports of child and domestic abuse and food insecurity.
"There is a cost, a social cost, to locking down and not figuring out a way to responsibly and safely reopen the economy, get Iowans back to work so they can take care of themselves and their families," Reynolds said.