The list of COVID-19 containment efforts grows by the hour.

Look for the restriction list to continue to be expanded, as governments – state, federal, and local – enact emergency measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus that emerged from Wuhan, China.

Keep abreast of the situation by listening to electronic media sources, or as a good friend and coworker of mine was famous for saying, “Hug and kiss those radios.”

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds recommended last week that Iowa schools close for one month to stop the spread of COVID-19. (That may end up being an end to the school year for many, as health care professionals indicate restrictions on movement will likely run at least eight weeks, which would virtually put an end to the school year.)

Colleges and universities are following suit. Spring break is being expanded/extended by most colleges and centers of higher education; students may be invited to attend classes online.

President Trump is recommending gatherings of groups no larger than 10 people. Be aware the situation will continue to be extremely fluid.

Home lockdowns have NOT been ordered, but that could change as confirmed cases of the virus grow. 

Tuesday morning, Governor Reynolds ordered an edict to all bars, restaurants and casinos to close immediately to in-situ dining. Prairie Meadows in Des Moines was among the first to close its doors.

A number of businesses are taking their own steps. Some have gone to drive-thru only, while others are limiting hours. 

Remember to wash your hands frequently.

Emergency health care

The Winterset hospital is screening walk-in clients before allowing entry into the hospital. If you are exhibiting symptoms of the virus – coughing, sneezing, labored breathing – CALL the hospital before coming in at 515-462-2373 – ­and you will be instructed on what to do.

City of Winterset closes

The city of Winterset Tuesday closed its offices. 

“We will continue to monitor the situation and will make a determination about re-opening city facilities as the situation evolves,” City Administrator Kelley Brown and Mayor Phil Macumber said in a joint March 17, 2020, memo.

“We are encouraging the public to conduct their business with the city electronically or over the phone whenever possible.”

In cases where that does not work, city officials say they will make arrangements to accommodate the public.

Utility accounts may be paid online by credit or debit card through the city website, or by phone. City residents may also submit payments through the secure drop box outside City Hall.

The city building department will work with the public on permits and inspection. You may make payments by dropping the payment in the drop box or calling with your credit card or debit card. Inspections will continue, city officials say; however, they will be “done in a manner which restricts exposure.”

City officials say to use the online system for WPRD (parks & recreation) business. 

Ensuring workers’ health while

guaranteeing service

City officials say each department has come up with a plan to ensure that city workers and staff remain healthy and are able to serve the public. 

Both the city water department and the electric departments, decided Monday at a city utility board meeting, that utility employees will be placed on a staggered furlough system, where someone will be on call at all times for emergencies.

Utility officials said, that, if necessary, the National Guard may be used as a resource to help keep the water department operating.

City officials stress that the situation is temporary and urge public patience.

“We as a city, have taken precautions to make sure our employees and their families are safe, as well as making sure we can provide the services you need and deserve during this challenging time.”

Reporter at the Winterset Madisonian. He has also been the managing editor at the Madisonian.