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Peter Kim

Trust me, I'm just as excited as the next person that bars are reopening in Iowa. For us who can legally drink at a bar, we're all thinking the same thing (probably), finally there is something to do! We can go back to our favorite bar, support local businesses and see some friends while enjoying a cold adult beverage. But as bars begin to reopen in the state, let me be one of the first to remind you to drink responsibly.

It's been a long two and a half months. On March 17th, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds issued a state of health disaster emergency proclamation which forced the closure of casinos, bars, gyms, theaters, and many other businesses across the state. Restaurants were able to serve food to customers through carryout, drive-thru or delivery. Of course this was all done to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Since this virus came to the United States, many people were forced to work from home, lost their jobs, or were furloughed across the state and the entire country. The economy took a massive hit, thousands of people were testing positive for COVID-19, and unfortunately, thousands of people have died.

Over the last few weeks, businesses have begun to reopen across the country, including Iowa in Illinois. Iowa has been reopening significantly faster than Illinois. As businesses begin to reopen, officials have asked owners to make sure their businesses are setup for people to maintain at least 6 feet apart from others, highly recommend employees and customers to wear a mask, and have made businesses implement new safety and cleaning measures to help stop the spread.

That is the gist of what has happened since the coronavirus has come to the U.S., and where we are at now. So back to my original point of the piece... Drink responsibly.

Today (May 28th), bars in Iowa reopen. All of us have been at home for the last two and a half months. If you've been enjoying the occasional cocktail, beer, or glass of wine at home (because you can't go anywhere else) the last couple of months, going to a bar is going to be very exciting! The weather is getting warmer and you're most likely going to go with your friends. But after sitting at home and not having to figure out a ride home, let me remind you that laws against drinking and driving, and public intoxication are still well in place.

If you plan on hitting up the bars in Iowa this week or weekend, let me remind you to make sure you have a sober driver, or you order a Lyft, Uber, or taxi home. Uber and Lyft both have suggestions and new requirements for drivers and customers.

*See the end of this article for links to Uber and Lyft on their new policies and suggestions*

If you do not have a sober driver to take you home before heading out for the bars this weekend, strongly consider staying home and plan on a different time to go out with friends when you do have a sober driver. If you are pulled over after drinking and are given a breathalyzer test and you have a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher, the penalty for doing so could cost you big time.

  • Jail time ranging from 48 hours to 1 year
  • A fine ranging from $625 to $1,250
  • Your license revoked from 180 days (if submitted to chemical testing and no previous OWI convictions or revocations) to 1 year (if refuse chemical testing and no previous OWI convictions or revocations)
  • Have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a lot of resources and recommendations when it comes to drinking and driving. NHTSA reminds you to be responsible and have a plan, which should include:

  • Plan a safe and sober ride home before drinking alcohol.
  • Don’t let someone get behind the wheel if that person has been drinking.
  • If you’re hosting a party with alcohol, make sure everyone has a sober ride home.
  • Always wear your seat belt. It’s your best defense against impaired drivers.
  • If you see a drunk driver, call law enforcement.

Please be careful out there. Enjoy yourself, but again, DRINK RESPONSIBLY.

READ MORE: See how some companies are changing their businesses to combat COVID-19


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