Iowa now among the states with the fewest COVID-19 restrictions

    At Mullets on March 17, Iowans came out to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. That same day, the governor ordered Iowa bars to shut down at noon. (Photo by Linh Ta/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

    No other state has fewer COVID-19 restrictions in place than Iowa does when it comes to using face masks in public and the reopening of child-care programs, restaurants and bars, according to a new national survey.

    The survey, conducted by the personal-finance website Wallet Hub, represents the latest update of its rankings for the States with the Fewest Coronavirus Restrictions.

    To determine which states currently have the fewest coronavirus restrictions in place, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 16 key metrics. Iowa ranks 7th on the list, meaning only six other states have fewer overall restrictions in place.

    On several key measures, Iowa is at the top of the list with no other states having imposed fewer restrictions pertaining to sheltering in place; the reopening of child care programs; the reopening of restaurants and bars; and the wearing of face masks in public.

    Iowa ranks lower on the list, 14th place to 16th place, when it comes to travel restrictions, limits on large gatherings and the reopening of all nonessential businesses.

    The states on the list that have fewer overall restrictions than Iowa are, from first to sixth, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Utah, South Carolina, North Dakota and Missouri.

    The states with the most overall restrictions are, in order, New Mexico, Vermont, California, Hawaii and New York.

    Clark Kauffman
    Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.