State Public Health Officer: Social Distancing & Wearing Masks Still Necessary

Dr. Alexia Harrist said social distancing and the wearing of face coverings, in many situations, needed to continue.

Annaliese Wiederspahn

May 14, 20202 min read

Harrist screen

Just because the State of Wyoming will be reducing restrictions on public health orders on Friday that doesn’t mean social distancing and wearing face coverings are a thing of the past, according to the state’s public health officer.

Dr. Alexia Harrist, in a press conference on Wednesday, said she was pleased that the state could lessen some public health safeguards but stressed the need for Wyoming citizens to stay vigilant.

“Social distancing remains critical for now and will for a while to come,” Harrist said. “Keeping our distance from each other helps us slow and limit the spread of this disease so businesses can remain open.”

She said businesses should screen their employees and recommended the continuing use of face coverings.

“Cloth face coverings can also slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus — who don’t know it — from transmitting it to others,” she said.

“The use of these coverings in certain businesses and community situations is clearly described within the revised orders,” Harrist said.

The requirement for employees to wear face masks was something that the owner of a brewery in Sheridan decided not to enforce. That led to the chief of police visiting her establishment on Wednesday evening and threatening to close the restaurant down.

The owner, Tiffany McCormick, subsequently posted an emotional video on Facebook protesting the requirement.  Later, in a Facebook post, she said her employees were all wearing masks because they “didn’t want her to lose her license.”

Harrist also cautioned county health officers to be realistic in applying for further exceptions to the new public health orders.

“I will continue to give every exception request a fair review.  But these new orders make significant changes already to restrictions that we’ve had in place,” Harrist said.

“I don’t want to create an expectation among people that everything they may request will be approved,” she said.

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Annaliese Wiederspahn

State Political Reporter