Holiday Season COVID-19 Spread Prompts Extended Measures in Des Moines

Update: Mayor Cownie removed the mask mandate for Des Moines on Friday, May 14, 2021. Learn More


City of Des Moines COVID-19 RepsonseDES MOINES, IOWA — Tuesday, December 15, 2020 — Continued community spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) during the winter holiday season has prompted the City of Des Moines to extend safety measures put in place earlier this year.

Last night, Mayor Frank Cownie amended his emergency proclamation regarding social gatherings on City property. In Polk County, there have been a total of 37,738 positive cases reported, with a total of 371 deaths.

"We continue to battle community spread of COVID-19. This pandemic and the risks it brings will not simply dissipate with time," Mayor Cownie said. "It is my hope that the combination of continued compliance of community health measures and a vaccine will soon get the community back to a more normal and routine life.” 

Effective immediately for new leases or permits, "an outdoor social, community, recreational, leisure or sporting gathering or event" that utilizes City streets or public right-of-way is limited to 30 people (reduced from 250 people). This includes but is not limited to a parade, festival, rally, farmers’ market, road race or neighborhood block party. Outdoor events on public property with fewer than 30 people will still be required to meet CDC guidelines and have approval from the City Manager to receive a permit.

Under this new proclamation, youth and adult sports/recreational activities will be prohibited at this time on City property, however, the City’s community recreation centers will remain open at 50 percent capacity.

The amended proclamation provides no changes to Mayor Cownie’s face covering mandate signed on August 26, 2020 (or its exceptions), but it extends the timeline for the City’s coronavirus response. To review the entire face covering mandate, visit

City of Des Moines administration buildings remain closed to the public until at least February 1, 2021.

Jen Schulte
Assistant City Manager, City Manager’s Office
(515) 283-4058

About the City of Des Moines
The City of Des Moines: Iowa’s capital city and local government servicing more than 217,000 residents, 52 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.