Johnson County, Iowa has seen a rapid uptick in positive COVID-19 cases in recent weeks following the full reopening of Iowa’s economy. As a result, local leaders who have volunteered to be part of the Project Better Together Steering Committee, are recommending that all residents and visitors to Johnson County wear appropriate face coverings, and continue practicing social distancing when in any business or public indoor space for the foreseeable future. Collectively, the committee’s goals are to have students safely return to in-person learning at the K-12 and Post-Secondary level, as well as to eliminate the possibility of local businesses experiencing another shutdown.

“The recent testing data indicates we are at another cross-roads in our ability to contain this virus, and it is imperative that people heed their responsibility to protect each other with face coverings and distancing whenever in public buildings and close spaces," said Suresh Gunasakaran, CEO of University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

 “We need help from everyone in our community to prevent the spread of this virus. You can protect the health and well-being of each person,” said Sean Williams, President and CEO of Mercy Iowa City. “What can you do? Wear a face covering and practice social distancing. And wash your hands often. Those are the most effective ways you can make a huge difference.”

 “If we are going to keep our local businesses from experiencing another shutdown where there may not be additional financial support such as the PPP, banding together to have a unified approach on how staff and customers interact safely is our main priority. If we are all on the same page, then no one business has to be an outlier,” said Kim Casko, President and CEO of the Iowa City Area Business Partnership.

 “As restrictions have been lifted, many people believe the worst of COVID-19 is over. It’s a false sense of security and we need to stay vigilant in our efforts to protect the vulnerable in our community. We need to think of face coverings and physical distancing as the new normal, along with monitoring our own health and staying home if not feeling well,” said Dave Koch, Director of Johnson County Public Health.

Project Better Together recommends businesses align with the Mask of Wellness Initiative, launched by Iowa City Physician Dr. David Krupp, and urges businesses to sign-up, participate, and proudly promote their inclusion in this effort. To learn more and register to participate in Mask of Wellness, go to

Click here to watch the live press conference from Thursday, June 25, 2020.