DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds is defending her decision to lift COVID-19 restrictions on restaurants, bars and public places over the weekend.
Two Democratic state lawmakers says they were told Reynolds did not consult with the state Health Department before the roll back.
Both Tweeted they were told on a conference call with the interim state health director that Reynolds did not seek the department’s opinion.
The governor's office responded, saying the decision was based on the falling number of COVID hospitalizations in the state.
"The governor has been consistent since the beginning of the pandemic and is following through with her commitment to dial back restrictions based on a significant decrease in COVID hospitalizations," said a statement from the governor's office.
Hospitalizations are currently about one-fifth of what they were during a November surge of the virus.
Reynolds also made an appearance on the Sean Hannity Fox News show Monday night, where she also cited the hospitalization numbers and said Iowans know how to be safe and responsible.
Reynolds issued a proclamation Friday that removed the mask requirement for people spending 15 minutes or more in an indoor area within 6 feet of other people not in their household.
The order also ended limits on the number of customers in a business or a requirement that they stay socially distant. The new rules went into effect on Sunday prior to the Super Bowl.
Numerous counties and cities in Iowa have issued statements since Reynolds’ proclamation, saying local mask mandates would still be in effect despite the governor’s changes.
Some restaurants have indicated they would maintain the same level of COVID-19-related restrictions beyond the deadline.
Democratic Representative Lindsay James of Dubuque and Democratic Senator Claire Celsi of West Des Moines both posted Tweets about a call between Democrats in the legislature and Kelly Garcia, the interim director for the Iowa Department of Public Health.