Natrona Public Health Officer: Face Coverings Must Be Worn in Businesses

Dr. Mark Dowell said he was disappointed in the lack of face coverings he has seen in restaurants and other businesses.

Annaliese Wiederspahn

May 19, 20203 min read

Mark dowell photo
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Natrona County businesses and citizens are dropping the ball and putting other citizens at risk, according to Natrona County Health Officer Dr. Mark Dowell.

In a Tuesday morning press conference, Dowell said he was disappointed with recent increases in the state’s confirmed coronavirus case number and attributed the gains to citizens and businesses not following public health guidelines issued by Gov. Mark Gordon.

As a result, Dowell said, the county has seen 13 new cases since Thursday. For almost two weeks before that, no new cases had been reported in the county.

“What this shows you is this increase in cases correlates really well with people not following our recommendations as well as they could,” Dowell said.

“You loosen the recommendations and the compliance with what we want you to do and you see will see an increase in cases,” he said.

Dowell called out restaurants and gyms for allowing employees to work without wearing masks and said citizens owe it to the families of the more than individuals who have died from the coronavirus to be more careful.

“I am disappointed in the lack of use of face coverings when people enter businesses or in gatherings,”  he said.  “I am also disappointed in the lack of social distancing.  It is as if people don’t think it’s real or don’t think they have to do it.”

He said the goal of the precautions is to make sure officials can avoid closing businesses, but added everyone must contribute to that effort.

“I want businesses in general — I don’t care if it is hardware or a restaurant — to have your employees wearing face coverings out of respect for the communities.  I expect our restaurants to do that,” he said.

“For my two cents, if the fitness centers want to stay open and we want them to, double back on what you need to do — do it right, follow the governor’s recommendations so we don’t get into problem,” he said.

Gov. Mark Gordon has repeatedly stressed that the reopening of businesses in Wyoming should come with it a heightened sense that the virus is still present and public health orders need to be followed.

“Even as we ease restrictions, the virus is not gone. It is still here, it is still invisible and it is still capable of wreaking havoc,” Gordon said at a news conference last week.

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Annaliese Wiederspahn

State Political Reporter