By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
A resolution requiring the use of face masks by all those inside Natrona County buildings was approved unanimously Tuesday by county commissioners.
Commissioners, during a special meeting, cited the need to keep county offices open as required by state law and to protect the safety of county employees as they approved the resolution requiring the use of face masks inside buildings including the county courthouse, justice center and Road & Bridge and Parks Department buildings.
“This is as much about protecting our employees whether our offices are open or not,” said Commissioner Paul Bertoglio. “I’m not sure if masks work or don’t work, but in this particular case, I’m ready to go this extra step … to protect our employees.”
The resolution exempts children under the age of 2 and those who might have a medical condition, mental health condition or disability that prevents the use of a face mask.
It also allows individual offices and courts to determine whether individuals must continue to use face masks after entering an office.
Officials in county departments not specifically identified in the resolution, such as the sheriff’s office and county fairgrounds offices, may determine on their own whether the use of face masks will be required for entry.
County Attorney Eric Nelson, who prepared the resolution, said the measure was seen as a way to prevent the closure of county offices.
“I think the intent of the resolution is so we don’t have to take that step to restrict access or close,” he said. “We want to remain open and provide services to the public.”
Commission Chairman Rob Hendry agreed steps needed to be taken to keep the buildings open.
“We have something like 20 people in this building that are out,” he said. “All of them do not have COVID, but they’re quarantined. If we keep this kind of pace up, we’re going to close this building down.”