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Des Moines area bars can’t reopen while lawsuit proceeds

DES MOINES — An Iowa judge has refused to allowed some Des Moines area bars to reopen while their lawsuit challenging Gov. Kim Reynolds’ new round of bar closures makes its way through the courts.

The Des Moines Register reports that Polk County Judge William Kelly emphasized the importance of public health Friday in his explanation of the ruling denying a temporary injunction to the bar owners in Polk and Dallas county.

Attorney Billy Mallory, who is representing the bar owners, said he will appeal the denial while continuing to prepare for trial, where he will seek a permanent injunction. The suit alleges that the closure of bars in Dallas and Polk counties is unconstitutional and unfairly targets some businesses, while others, like restaurants and coffee shops, may continue operating.

In Reynolds’ Aug. 27 order, she also required the closing of bars in Black Hawk, Johnson, Linn and Story counties. Those counties, along with Polk and Dallas, are considered hot spots for COVID-19 infections.

Reynolds’ office issued a statement Friday afternoon expressing appreciation for “the court’s thoughtful order.”

Statewide, the number of new cases rose Saturday by 1,024 to 69,006. The state also confirmed 23 new COVID-19 deaths to bring the total to 1,160, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

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