By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
With Easter fast approaching, Gov. Mark Gordon on Wednesday reminded Wyoming residents to practice social distancing throughout the holiday weekend.
Speaking during a news conference, Gordon encouraged people to avoid large gatherings while celebrating the Easter holiday, pointing to the massive death toll in Italy due to the coronavirus pandemic.
While churches were closed in Italy, many religious officials continued to hold outdoor services, which caused the virus to spread. As of Thursday morning, Italy has seen more than 18,000 deaths due to the virus.
Gordon shared a letter from Bishop Steven Biegler, of the Cheyenne Diocese of the Catholic Church, to reiterate how critical it is for Wyomingites to stay away from others, even on Easter.
“‘An essential value behind our decisions is solidarity,'” the governor read from the letter. “We are obligated to do all we can to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Solidarity requires us to act to prevent any person from being infected. At this time, public gatherings endanger those in attendance who, in turn, can infect others.”
Gordon admitted it was saddening to cease public religious services, it was for the good of everyone, helping to avoid the transmission of the virus.
He praised the state churches who have pivoted to worshiping digitally while the pandemic continues.
“It is important to remember on this Easter weekend that we are a community and we have a responsibility to our fellow neighbors,” the governor said. “I will say that it is heartening to me that so many churches and congregations have reached out to make their services available online that (don’t) endanger people.”