Though many retail businesses like bookstores, flower shops and clothing stores are under a statewide order to close in Iowa, residents can still purchase sex toys and lingerie in person.
Romantix, an adult entertainment store with nine locations across the state, remains open as of Friday.
To combat the spread of coronavirus, Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered several “nonessential” retail locations to close last week. Businesses included in the order include flower shops, bookstores, jewelry stores, luggage stores and cosmetic, perfume and beauty supply stores. They can still offer curbside pickup or delivery of items, similar to how restaurants may still offer food for takeout.
On Thursday, Reynolds extended her order through April 30.
But Romantix, which bills itself as the “premier adult toy retailer in Des Moines,” is still selling sex toys, lingerie and adult DVDs.
Reynolds’ order does not explicitly mention adult entertainment stores, so the stores, which operate in cities from Des Moines to Sioux City, are legally allowed to remain open.
However, several similar establishments have already closed on their own. Lovers Playground, which operates adult-oriented stores in Des Moines and Burlington closed its Iowa locations on March 27 until further notice, according to its website. The Lion’s Den in Newton, Iowa, and the Adult Shop in Marshalltown, Iowa, have also closed.
The Colorado-based owner of the Romantix and Sam & Delilah adult stores, Progressive Retail Management, operates nearly 60 locations in 15 states.
Store representatives at both Des Moines Romantix locations were able to confirm Friday that the stores remain open. But questions about any limitations in store services were referred to the company’s corporate office. Calls to six other Iowa locations also confirmed they are still open, although some had limited hours or access.
A reporter’s calls to the Waterloo Romantix were not answered, although an automated phone message listed hours that the store is open every day of the week.
Representatives at the company’s corporate office did not return a request for comment.
As of Friday morning, nearly 700 Iowans had tested positive for the coronavirus, including 100 in Polk County. Iowa is one of a minority of states that have not issued a stay-at-home order, which limit residents from leaving their homes except out of necessity.
Reynolds has said she believes the actions she has taken so far — from encouraging Iowans to stay at home whenever possible to closing down schools, restaurant dining rooms, several retail businesses and other areas— are the “equivalent” of such an order.
Reynolds spokesman Pat Garrett told the Des Moines Register this week that the governor’s office could expand the types of businesses mandated for closure in the coming days.
Ian Richardson covers the Iowa Statehouse for the Des Moines Register, part of the USA TODAY Network. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, at 515-284-8254, or on Twitter at @DMRIanR.