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Mayor Urges Des Moines Residents: "Stay Home, Stay Healthy"

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City of Des Moines COVID-19 responseDES MOINES, IOWA – Saturday, March 21, 2020 Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, in the interest of protecting the health and safety of the community, today urged residents to impose a strict practice of “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” in response to the spread of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

 “To ensure we are doing everything possible to prevent the spread of the pandemic, it is my strong recommendation that Des Moines residents stay home for at least 14 days,” Cownie said. “We know from health officials that the single, best way to control the spread of COVID-19 is to avoid unnecessary contact with others, it is vital we as a community begin voluntarily to take that action as quickly as possible.”

 Cownie recommends that for at least two weeks, Des Moines residents limit the time outside of their homes for only the most essential needs such as groceries, medicine and health care including getting fresh air and exercise while appropriately social distancing. He stressed that such efforts should be limited to one or two people per household and not become a family outing.

 “With each day, we as a community face new challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic,” Cownie added. “However, using good judgement and adopting a practice of Stay Home, Stay Healthy, we can take an important step toward mitigating this problem.”

 In response to the Stay Home, Stay Healthy recommendation, the City will curtail all parking meter enforcement except where parking is prohibited – near fire hydrants, fire lanes and loading zones. Motorists  should not park in spaces signed for handicapped permit parking unless they have the proper credentials displayed in or on their vehicles. Individuals also should not park in metered spaces that are covered (bagged) with red or yellow bags indicating No Parking or No Parking by Police Order. 

 The Mayor’s recommendation today for residents to Stay Home, Stay Healthy follows his state of emergency declaration on March 15. Earlier this week, under the guidance of the Iowa Department of Public Health, Des Moines closed public access to its City Hall, Armory, Municipal Service Center, and Public Works buildings, the Des Moines Wastewater Reclamation Authority (WRA) as well as the office location for the Civil & Human Rights Department until at least April 13, 2020.

 While the coronavirus situation continues to rapidly change, City staff are working to ensure essential municipal services are maintained as much as possible. Many services continue to be available via phone, email and the City’s website. A full list of the latest municipal service impacts for Des Moines residents is available at

All deadlines have been suspended indefinitely for City permits, licenses, certifications and fines.

To monitor the most current updates related to COVID-19, visit



Al Setka
Communications Manager, City Manager’s Office 
(515) 283-4057


About the City of Des Moines
The City of Des Moines: Iowa’s capital city and local government servicing more than 217,000 residents, 51+ neighborhoods, over 4,000 acres of parkland and 81 miles of trails. The City of Des Moines stands to be a financially strong city with exceptional city services, fostering an involved community in a customer friendly atmosphere. Visit DSM.cityFacebook and Twitter for more information.