COVID-19 Business Resources

With the global spread of COVID-19 (the coronavirus disease) the Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) at Iowa State University is providing educational guides and direct support for our clients to help them plan, prepare, protect, and recover their operations.

If your business is impacted by COVID-19, CIRAS can provide no-cost assistance to help you understand your next steps. CIRAS has an emergency response team in place to help guide you through the recovery process. Send an email to and we'll be in touch within 24 hours.

In the following sections we have provided guides and checklists and a collection of tips and links for navigating your business through the current pandemic. Please check back often as we continually update this information. We have created an Iowa COVID-19 Preparedness & Return to Work Checklist to provide you with the key information in one summary document.

For a map and other COVID-19 case information go to the COVID-19 in Iowa Dashboard.

Select one of these areas to address your concerns about the impact of COVID-19:

Current Updates (May 21, 2020)

Iowa will allow museums, zoos, swimming pools, and wedding venues to open beginning tomorrow morning so long as they follow certain hygiene and social distancing restrictions outlined in a proclamation signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds on Wednesday. Movie theaters likewise will be able to open at 50 percent capacity. Summer high school sports activity will be allowed to resume on June 1.

Website Updates – CIRAS has made a series of updates to our COVID-19 resources on our website, including but not limited to:

Other updates related to supply chain issues include:

  • The re-start of auto assembly plants continues, but it is a slow process. Several plants are having intermittent pauses to respond to new infections, supplier issues, or increased cleaning and disinfection.
  • It has been reported that more than 1,200 passenger aircraft have been temporarily converted to carry freight cargo.
  • U.S. ethanol production appears to have hit bottom and has started a recovery with production increases in each of the last three weeks.
  • Most industry analysts anticipate more stable ocean capacity and rates for international shipments for the second half of the year, though there is a temporary over-capacity issue for cargo from Asia to North America due to pent-up supply and reduced ocean sailing capacity.
  • Many manufacturers of consumer products, such as Harley Davidson, are streamlining their product line to focus on production of their more popular items to provide them with a more efficient supply chain and managing fewer parts and suppliers.

Previous Updates (May 14, 2020)

A wide range of retail establishments can open for business across Iowa beginning at 5 a.m. tomorrow, according to a proclamation Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed Wednesday. The changes permit restaurants (but not bars), fitness centers, libraries, and racetracks to open in 22 counties that previously had been under increased restrictions due to higher COVID-19 activity. Salons, barbershops, and tattoo parlors also are able to reopen throughout the state “with appropriate public health measures in place.”

Other updates impacting Iowa industry include:

  • Mexico has announced a gradual reopening of its economy, stating that industries like construction, mining, and car and truck manufacturing will be allowed to operate beginning May 18 under certain health protocols to protect workers.
  • S. automakers are planning to reopen many of their assembly operations and plants on May 18 after installing protective barriers and other social distancing equipment and implementing new policies.
  • Many meatpacking facilities have reopened with changes as recommended by CDC and OSHA over the past week.  The USDA has released the list of reopened plants here.
  • Retailers have seen dramatic increases in on-line ordering and many have turned to shipping from previous retail-only outlets due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Carriers like FedEx and UPS are working with the retailers to better manage this flow of goods including, at times, some shipment limits to manage capacity.
  • Ocean shipping companies continue to reduce sailings and capacity to better match demand, which is between 20 and 25 percent lower than year-ago levels.
  • Available warehouse capacity in the U.S. continues to shrink as imports (purchased before or at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic) continue to arrive in the U.S. but face decreased consumer and business demand.

Archived Updates

CIRAS Contacts:

Marc Schneider, 563-221-1596,
Mike O’Donnell, 515-509-4379,