Wyoming to Keep Borders Open; Americans Want State Borders Closed

When asked about Colorado drivers crossing the border to shop for supplies in Niobrara and Goshen counties, Gordon said the onus is on the store owners in Wyoming.

Annaliese Wiederspahn

April 02, 20203 min read

Wyoming sign

A new Rasmussen poll showed that Americans, by a two-thirds majority, would like their borders closed to other states.

Further, respondents are in favor of fines being imposed to individuals who break social distancing guidelines.

The poll, which surveyed 1,000 likely U.S. voters,  did not break down responses by state.

Here in Wyoming, complaints about out-of-state citizens crossing Wyoming’s borders to shop are a frequent subject of discussion on social media. 

When asked about Colorado drivers crossing the border to shop for supplies in Niobrara and Goshen counties, Gov. Mark Gordon said the onus is on the local store owners.

“The issue, really, is happening all around our borders,” he said, mentioning Utah citizens driving to Uinta County for supplies.

“My recommendation is that stores begin to pace that and make sure we don’t have all of our supplies going to out-of-state buyers,” he said.

Gordon noted the state has banned overnight camping in state parks as a way to deter traffic from outside the state.

“We have severely limited what Wyoming [state] parks can offer,” he said. “They are still available if you want to go walk, but there is no overnight camping.”

Luke Reiner, director of the Wyoming Department of Transportation, said no thought was being given to closing Wyoming’s borders to travelers from other states.

“We are not shutting down our borders,” he wrote in an email.

Other states are examining such closures and several have already imposed restrictions on travelers crossing their borders. Vermont’s governor on Wednesday said the state is investigating the prevalence of out-of-state traffic to its state.

“We’re not taking registration numbers or anything like that. Just looking for colors of plates to determine who’s coming in. And then we’ll react accordingly,” Gov. Phil Scott said at a press conference.

The State of Rhode Island has set up checkpoints on some of their roads and is stopping all vehicles with out-of-state plates to track potential COVID-19 cases.

Earlier this week, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy warned out of staters with less-restrictive stay-at-home mandates that they are not welcome.

“I don’t want anybody coming in from another part of the country where they had lax restrictions and undoing what we have done,” he said.

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Annaliese Wiederspahn

State Political Reporter