In pre-COVID 19 days, the rules of getting into a restaurant or bar seemed pretty simple: No Shirt, No Shoes, No Dice.
With the onset of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, the barrier for entry has increased significantly. In Wyoming now, no patrons have been allowed in for more than a month — no matter what.
Wyoming bar owners and restaurateurs who were hoping for some relief on Tuesday were assuredly left disappointed.
Gov. Mark Gordon did ease restrictions on some personal care businesses but restaurants and bars were still — for the most part — left out.
In a press conference late Tuesday, Gordon announced some small progress. Beginning May 1, patrons now — up to five people at a time — will be able to enter eating and drinking establishments to pick up to-go orders but that’s the extent of it.
“We recognize that there are particular industries like the restaurant industry that is awaiting guidance on being able to provide table service in their establishments,” Gordon said.
“We’re working very closely with them,” he said. “I had a conversation yesterday with them to talk about the way that we can begin to ease those restrictions as well and understanding the requirements of hiring back people that they have had to furlough.”
Gordon said he hoped to issue guidelines to the restaurant and bar industry soon.
The governor said he and his wife have been ordering curbside or delivery service “continually” since the pandemic started and urged citizens to continue to support the restaurant and bar industry as well.
In defense of what he called his “conservative approach”, Gordon said, “If we get this wrong, it is going to be devastating — more devastating to Wyoming and we will lose the ground we have made so far to this terrible virus.”