At a special city council meeting on Wednesday evening, Denison Mayor Pam Soseman repeated her appeal that people wear masks when in enclosed areas where others are present and further asked people to ask state officials to bring drive-through COVID-19 testing to the community.

Soseman had made a request for the wearing of masks at the council’s April 21 meeting.

“We have not peaked yet so I’m going to remind people to keep your social distance, wash your hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer. I’m requested again, and I’ve had calls about it the last several days, request that people wear masks into grocery stores or places like that, again asking those retailers to consider the wearing of masks for all essential employees.”

She reminded that it is not known who may be carrying the coronavirus.

Soseman said she’s received many calls about testing for COVID-19.

“We did make the request for rapid testing. I did reach out this past weekend to request drive-through testing. I have not had a response,” the mayor said.

“I am encouraging all of you to contact your state representative, governor, whoever you need to speak to, and I want you to request testing in Denison, and if you don’t get an answer, I want to you ask why you are not getting an answer, because we need one.”

Soseman told the Denison Bulletin and Review that she had sent an email request for rapid testing to the human resource personnel for both meat processing plants in Denison. She added that she had also sent the human resource departments for both plants a link to Test Iowa (testiowa.com) and asked that they share it with their employees.

Last Saturday evening Soseman sent a request to the governor for drive-through testing in Denison, similar to what had been done in Des Moines.

The site in Des Moines is a Test Iowa drive-through site.

To receive a test, people must complete the Test Iowa assessment, qualify for testing and schedule an appointment to be tested. They must bring the QR code they receive by email to the appointment.

A Test Iowa drive-through site is now open in Waterloo and a site will open next week in Woodbury County.

Soseman said she had follow-up calls with State Rep. Steve Holt about the need for rapid testing in Denison.

The mayor’s comments were made at the end of the special meeting.

Wednesday evening’s meeting had been called to review details of the governor’s May 27 proclamation to allow retail stores, restaurants and certain services to reopen under capacity restrictions and social distancing and vigorous hygiene requirements. (See the list on this page.)

The reopening was effective at 5 a.m. today and will run through 11:59 p.m. on Friday, May 15.

Police Chief Dan Schaffer reviewed the parts of the governor’s proclamation that are most pertinent to businesses and services in Denison.

Soseman encouraged business owners who have decided to reopen at this time to post any special guidelines they may have for customers on the front door or front window, guidelines such as entering one at a time and bringing a mask to wear.

It was pointed out that the governor’s proclamation does not require any business or service to reopen but simply allows them to do so under the guidance and criteria provided by the state.

A city service that the council agreed should not reopen yet is Norelius Community Library. However, the library does provide curb-side service.

Library Director Monica Walley said that library directors statewide are concerned about reopening. Among the reasons is the amount of materials that could be touched and therefore possibly lead to the spread of the coronavirus.

Walley said the library staff does it best to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

She added that materials returned are quarantined on a table for 72 hours to air out.

“As a matter of health and safety, protecting our patrons and staff is paramount,” said Walley.

She recommended a slow, deliberate and very cautious roll-out for the reopening of the library.

She added that she would like to have a Plexiglas partition around the circulation desk, something that is professionally done so that it could stay in place for as long as it is needed.

Walley also pointed out that when the library does reopen, it will not be allowed as a place for people of any ages to congregate or socialize. People will be encouraged to make their selections and then check out.

“It’s going to be a different place now,” she added in regards to no congregating or socializing.

The city council decided to keep the library closed and to decide at the Tuesday, May 5, council meeting whether to schedule a reopening or extend the closure.

The council also decided that Denison City Hall will continue to be accessible only by appointment.

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