As 77 Iowa counties prepare to re-open their economies, IWD provided some clarification for recalled workers regarding their eligibility for benefits.
302 new positive cases were reported, bringing the current total to 7,145 confirmed cases. 89 percent of the new cases were once again from the 22 counties were tight restrictions will remain in place. 1,028 negative cases were reported for a total 35,552. 42,567 Iowans have been tested so far, a per-capita rate of 1 in 74. 2,697 Iowans have recovered for a recovery rate of 38 percent. 14 additional deaths were reported, bringing the total number of COVID deaths in the state to 162. Starting tomorrow, restrictions will begin to be lifted in 77 of Iowa’s 99 counties.
“iowans in many communities will have an opportunity to shop on main street, eat at their favorite local RESTAURANT or attend church on sunday if they choose.”
Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend joined Governor Reynolds to share additional information about unemployment claims as well as information workers should know about their benefits. In the last week, 28,827 new claims were filed along with 170,990 continuing claims. $51,408,623 was paid in unemployment benefits. This week, $102,714,000 was paid in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits to over 150,000 Iowans.
Townsend also reminded Iowans that if they are called back to go to work and choose not to, they may lose their eligibility for unemployment benefits as well as their job. She then listed a number of exceptions, which are as follows:
- Having been diagnosed with COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms
- An individual in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are caring for a person with COVID-19
- You or a person in your household are in a high risk category and have been advised to self isolate by a healthcare provider
- Lack of necessary child care, related to COVID-19
- Unable to reach workplace due to the outbreak
- Have had COVID-19 and recovered, but resulting complications have rendered you unable to perform your duties
Townsend urged all Iowans to speak with their employers prior to returning to work to see what measures they are taking to ensure the safety of employees and customers, such as following OHSA guidelines, enhanced sanitation protocols, providing extra wash stations and allowing or providing PPE. According to Townsend, the best steps to take involve a combination of good faith efforts by employers and personal responsibility by workers.