By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
Bars, fitness clubs and museums and other public spaces were ordered closed Thursday by the state’s health officer in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Gov. Mark Gordon announced Thursday afternoon that the order from Dr. Alexia Harrist will require the closure of public places including schools, theaters, bars, coffee shops, cafeterias, self-serve buffets, gyms, conference rooms and museums through April 3.
Restaurants will be allowed to remain open under the order, but only for curbside takeout and drive-through service.
Gordon had said earlier he would leave the decision on whether to close businesses in the hands of local officials. Three counties, Teton, Laramie and Park, had taken such action on Wednesday and Thursday, but Harrist’s order encompasses the full state.
“This governor has never been inclined to overstep local authority, but these are unprecedented times,” Gordon said in a news release. “It is critical that there is uniformity across the state in how social distancing measures are implemented.”
Harrist joined officials in saying she understood the hardship that the closures would create for people employed by the businesses.
“But it is an important step to help them avoid becoming ill and to help them avoid spreading COVID-19 to those who are most vulnerable,” she said in the news release. “We should all work together to help keep our friends and neighbors safe.”
The Wyoming Department of Health has confirmed 18 coronavirus cases in the state.