IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Gov. Kim Reynolds says she will partially reopen businesses and churches in 77 of Iowa's 99 counties, even as the state is suffering from fast-growing numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths.

Beginning in those counties May 1, Reynolds said that restaurants, fitness centers, retail stores and malls will be allowed to reopen at 50 percent of their operating capacity. She said that she would also allow church services to resume without limits on their size.

Reynolds said the 77 counties have experienced a downward trend in virus activity over the last two weeks. She said that she would extend previously-ordered business closures in 22 other counties through May 15.

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