Generations Lounge

Owner Mike Leo turns the lights on in the Generations Lounge above Leo’s Italian Restaurant. The lounge offers an LCD projector and screen for business meetings, its own menu and more than 70 craft beers.


Diners will again be able to sit down for a meal at Leo’s Italian Restaurant and Generations Lounge this weekend, the downtown Oelwein landmark announced on Tuesday.

“Generations will open this Friday and Saturday at 4 p.m.,” office manager Jean Kane said. “We will be seating customers so as to keep everyone 6 feet apart, and keep to our 50% occupancy.”

She added that by Gov. Kim Reynolds’s order, “To purchase alcohol you will also have to purchase food.”

That last part will change on May 28, according to a new proclamation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic issued Wednesday by the governor. As of next Thursday, bars and other alcohol-related establishments will be permitted to reopen for indoor or outdoor seating.

The proclamation also allows movie theaters, zoos, aquariums, museums and wedding reception venues to reopen this Friday, May 22. Swimming pools will also be permitted to reopen for lap swimming and swimming lessons.

“Business owners across Iowa are eager to get back to work. They understand and they accept the added responsibility to protect their employees and their customers,” Reynolds said at her Wednesday morning news conference. “And I believe Iowans are willing to do their part as well so that businesses and entertainment and activities can resume again.”

The number of COVID-19 cases in Iowa rose to 15,595 as of with 386 deaths, as of Tuesday, according to state figures.

Responding to reporters question, Reynolds said. “We are seeing a stabilization. We’re not overwhelming our health care system. We demonstrated that we have the resources to manage any type of an uptick or surge. ... And we’re seeing great trends.”

She noted that the percent of positive cases among those people tested has dropped. At the end of April, that figure was in the high 20s. This week it has fluctuated between 7% and 14%.

One in 28 Iowans have been tested for a total of 111,003.

A reporter at the news conference asked Reynolds, “How are people who are intoxicated, do you expect them to responsibly practice social distancing and how can that be enforced?”

The governor said that was one of the reasons this was one of the last areas being reopened, and the state will work with business owners and law enforcement.

“We’re going to work with our business owners to make sure they understand what the guidance is that the Department of Public Health will put out in conjunction with the CDC. We’re again going to do it in a very limited capacity, they’ll have to be seated, we’re working on what those details look like right now.”

Enforcing will first be educating, Reynolds said.

“They have said they’re going to educate Iowans, they’re going to encourage them if they’re not meeting it, to meet the guidelines that are put place and as a last resort then they’ll have to take that final action,” she said.

She believes Iowans can be responsible, she said.

“Your going to always have somebody that doesn’t fit, that doesn’t abide by what they’re supposed to do, but that applies to anything and everything,” she said. “So we need to just continue to focus on what individuals need to be doing, continue to talk about personal responsibility and the measures we’ve been talking about.”