City Extends COVID-19 Building Closures and Freeze on Event Permits

DES MOINES, IOWA – Tuesday, May 5, 2020 – Amid concerns over the increased spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Polk County, Mayor Frank Cownie announced today the City of Des Moines will extend both the closure of its administration buildings and a freeze on permits for public events and activities. The moratorium on use-permits would be extended until July 1 and would include events that utilize City streets and rights-of-way such as the Downtown Farmers’ Market and the Des Moines Arts Festival.

Mayor Cownie stressed that Polk County today reported the highest outbreak of coronavirus in the state with 1,778 total cases, more than double the 813 cases from one week ago. Polk County remains under state restrictions along with 21 other Iowa counties.

State officials today announced 10,111 reported cases in Iowa, an increase from 6,376 a week ago.

“We have seen a significant outbreak of COVID-19 and we’re still uncertain when those numbers might peak,” Cownie said. “That’s why the smart thing to do is limit events and activities that congregate crowds and increase exposure.”

For the health and safety of employees and residents, the City is also extending the closure of its administration buildings until June 15.  This includes the City Hall, Armory, Municipal Service Center, and Public Works buildings, the Des Moines Wastewater Reclamation Authority (WRA) and the office location for the Civil & Human Rights Department. 

The buildings initially closed March 17 and, following a previous extension, were scheduled to open May 17. Cownie said an update about the City’s parks and recreational services will be announced later this week.

All deadlines remain suspended indefinitely for City permits, licenses, certifications and fines. Parking meter enforcement remains discontinued except where parking is prohibited – near fire hydrants, fire lanes and loading zones. Motorists should not park in spaces designated for handicapped permit parking unless they have the proper credentials. Parking is also prohibited in metered spaces that are bagged indicating No Parking or No Parking by Police Order

For the latest information regarding COVID-19 and City services, 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.