Davenport, Rock Island Mayors on COVID-19 in the Quad Cities


The Quad Cities region is actually made up of five cities along the Mississippi River: Moline, East Moline and Rock Island in Illinois, and Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa. 

While often operating as a singular community, differing approaches to how each state is managing the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an economic rift in the region. 

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Interactive: More from our series, COVID-19 Across Chicago.

The Iowa side is partially reopen, with restaurants, barber shops and malls operating at 50% capacity. 

“We have planned this, we have worked with many folks to do it safely,” said Davenport Mayor Mike Matson. “We’re going to make sure, working with our businesses, we have social distancing.” 

Matson says he’s cautiously paying attention to the COVID-19 numbers in Davenport, in case the partial reopening leads to a spike in cases or a second wave of infections.

“If something does come, then we’ll make an adjustment,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Rock Island and the rest of Illinois remains mostly shut down, with restaurants operating only takeout and delivery services, and retail stores closed. 

Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms says the city plans to close streets and amend some local rules to allow restaurants to take advantage of outdoor dining when it’s once again allowed at the end of May. 

“We are now going to be closing some streets and will be allowing our businesses  to put tables out, with the 6-foot distance, starting the 29th [of May],” he said. 

The region has also seen a disparity in COVID-19 case numbers. 

Rock Island County in Illinois has reported 652 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, while Scott County, which includes Davenport and Bettendorf, has seen 323 cases.

Thoms says a large number of those cases were linked to a Tyson Foods meatpacking plant, as well as a nursing home, which both saw COVID-19 outbreaks. 


Community Reporting Series

“Chicago Tonight” is expanding its community reporting. We’re hitting the streets to speak with your neighbors, local businesses, agencies and leaders about COVID-19, the economy, racial justice, education and more. See where we’ve been and what we’ve learned by using the map below. Or select a community using the drop-down menu. Points in red represent our series COVID-19 Across Chicago; blue marks our series “Chicago Tonight” in Your Neighborhood.


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