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June 26, 2020

June 26, 2020

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Q: When will Veridian Credit Union locations open up to be able to go inside?

A: According to the credit union, Veridian’s traditional lobbies — those not attached to Hy-Vee stores — reopened June 1, with policies on capacity and social distancing in effect. Hy-Vee locations “remain closed until further notice,” according to “We strongly encourage you to use online banking and our mobile app,” the company said.

Q: I am required to wear a face mask at my workplace, a local manufacturer. Some get to wear shields, some have to wear masks. Is that legal? The shields don’t stop anything like a mask does.

A: There’s arguments to be made for both: Experts say the shields are good for stopping large droplets from hitting you, such as when someone without a mask is sneezing, coughing or simply speaking closely to you. A cloth mask, on the other hand, mostly works to protect you and your droplets from escaping out into the wider world, and can stop some droplets from others, but other people generally also need to be wearing masks for better protection. In either case, neither is legal or illegal — Gov. Kim Reynolds hasn’t mandating mask wearing — so we suggest talking it over with your human resources department.

Q: For the restaurants that are open, can people sit at the bar and drink without ordering food?

A: Likely yes. Every restaurant is approaching their business guidelines differently, but restrictions on capacity have been lifted at both bars and restaurants, so it’s up to proprietors. We encourage you to call ahead and ask about those restrictions before heading out.

Q: How many positive tests are there compared to the number of tests being given in Black Hawk County?

A: Black Hawk County has a 14.5% positive test rate as of June 22, meaning 14.5% of all of the residents tested test positive, higher than the state’s 10% positive testing rate. The World Health Organization recommends a positive testing rate of 10% or less to get a handle on virus activity in a region. As of June 22, 13,056 tests have been given (people may be tested multiple times), and 1,896 have been positive while 11,138 were negative.

Q: Where are all the meatpacking companies in Iowa? I’d like names and cities, please.

A: There are around 248 meat, poultry or combination meat and poultry plants registered either as state or federal meatpacking companies, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture’s website. That’s too many to name here.

Q: Why didn’t Gov. Reynolds wear a mask when she visited the Winnebago plant in Forest City with Vice President Mike Pence?

A: Reynolds has said the decision on whether to wear a mask should be left up to individual Iowans. Many conservative politicians claim wearing a mask is an infringement on personal liberty and a symbol of what they claim is an overreaction to the coronavirus.

Calls are taken on a special Courier phone line at 234-3566. Questions are answered by Courier staff and staff at the Waterloo Public Library.

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