By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Gov. Mark Gordon announced Tuesday afternoon that some businesses can reopen on May 1 after more than a month of being shuttered.
These orders will allow gyms, barber shops, hair salons and other personal care services to reopen under specific operating conditions designed to minimize public health risk from the coronavirus.
This phased approach will also ease restrictions on day care and allow hospitals to resume elective surgeries.
“These new orders start our process of getting this part of Wyoming’s economy up and running again,” Gordon said in a news release. “We have asked Wyoming citizens to make sacrifices over the past five weeks and they have responded. I want to thank these businesses for playing such an important role in our initial battle with COVID-19. Easing the restrictions on these businesses at this time is prudent and gets us one step closer to a return to normal.”
Gordon said last week during a news conference that he would allow the 23 Wyoming counties to take their own approaches on easing restrictions, based on local expertise and health data. He reaffirmed this stance on Tuesday.
“We all recognize that the virus has had severe impacts in some Wyoming communities, while other towns and counties have been spared,” he said. “This plan takes into account the continued safety of our citizens and establishes a process to consider some case-by-case exceptions to state health orders when appropriate. It is important that we do not surrender the ground we have taken and that we extend our gains against this virus.”
For gyms to reopen on Friday, there will be a limit of the number of patrons in the facility, staff will have to wear face coverings and the locker rooms will be closed. Gyms are prohibited from offering one-on-one training or group classes.
That same order will be modified to allow child care centers and home day cares to reopen or continue operating under certain precautions, including limiting groups of people to fewer than 10 or more in one room and implementing screening and cleaning protocols.
Cosmetology services (such as barber shops, tattoo parlors and massage therapy services) can reopen Friday, but must limit the number of patrons, screen the patrons and staff for symptoms of illness or exposure to a person with the virus, requiring patrons and staff to wear face coverings and eliminating waiting areas.
No business is required to open on May 1, though. Businesses that choose to stay closed will still be eligible for assistance from the Small Business Administration programs.
Effective immediately, hospitals and health care providers can resume elective surgeries. The Wyoming Department of Health has provided guidance on this.
The health order limiting public gatherings to 10 or fewer people has been extended through May 15, though. Gordon’s directive requiring anyone coming into Wyoming to self-quarantine for 14 days is expected to be updated Wednesday.
All of the new statewide orders allow county health officers to submit requests for county-wide variances from the orders if public health conditions in the county warrant a change.
“The goal is to provide a measure of flexibility in recognition of the fact that public health conditions can vary greatly from county to county in Wyoming,” the release said.