Science Center of Iowa, Prairie Meadows reinstating mask requirements due to delta variant


DES MOINES, Iowa — You’re going to need more than a ticket to visit the Science Center of Iowa or the Prairie Meadows Casino going forward.

Both businesses announced they will require masks for everyone starting Sunday due to the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant.

“We just need to be careful,” said Science Center of Iowa CEO Curt Simmons. “We welcome people to visit as long as they wear a mask.”

The new mandates come days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said several counties in the metro are at an elevated risk of COVID-19 community transmission. The CDC recommends masks for everyone in populated indoor settings if they are somewhere with a “substantial” or “high” risk of community transmission.

The CDC has determined Polk County to have substantial community transmission, and allocated Story County the more serious rating of high community transmission.

“We are basing our work and our position on the work of the CDC,” Simmons said. “I look not just at Iowa, but at what’s happening around the country. This delta variant is spreading very rapidly.”

While the Science Center is not requiring masks until Sunday, visitors such as Frank Freeman chose to mask up a day before the mandate took effect.

“It’s a small thing. It’s just a mask,” Freeman said. “It’s the best thing to do for everyone involved. You have to respect other people by keeping yourself safe.”

Simmons said Science Center employees were already required to wear masks while on duty. He said they will continue to follow the CDC’s lead on how to counter COVID-19 and the delta variant.

“Every decision we make is based on the best science we could find out there,” Simmons said. “Science is in our name.”

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