By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The Wyoming statewide mask mandate and all restrictions on bars, restaurants, theaters and gyms will be lifted on March 16, Gov. Mark Gordon announced Monday.
Gordon said his decision to lift the public health orders in place for months reflects the state’s continually improving health metrics and is consistent with his approach of balancing public health with protecting livelihoods.
Wyoming has seen a declining number of active coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks, and has seen significant success in delivering the COVID-19 vaccine, with the state’s most vulnerable residents now having access to the shot, he said.
“I thank the people of Wyoming for their commitment to keeping one another safe throughout this pandemic,” Gordon said. “It is through their efforts that we have kept our schools and businesses operating and our economy moving forward. I ask all Wyoming citizens to continue to take personal responsibility for their actions and stay diligent as we look ahead to the warmer months and to the safe resumption of our traditional spring and summer activities.”
The governor encouraged Wyomingites to continue wearing face coverings in indoor public spaces and to follow the best practices adopted by any business they visit to slow the spread of the virus.
Gordon emphasized the success the state has had in managing the virus while keeping businesses and schools open.
“Wyoming is one of the few states in the country that kept students learning in the classroom for the entire school year. We made sacrifices, but the earlier orders saved lives. We persevered,” Gordon said. “With this approach we can have graduations, proms and a great end to the school year by keeping schools open. Especially since our children will not have the chance to be vaccinated this spring.”
The significant changes to the health orders will be released later this week, Gordon wanted to make sure the public knew of this important change today.
The face covering requirement will remain in place in K-12 schools as a safety measure to ensure that classroom learning and all student activities can continue to occur safely, Gordon said.
The details of the changes to the health orders will be released later this week. But Gordon said he wanted to make sure the public knew of this important change immediately.
Wyoming’s vaccination efforts are among the most efficient in the country. Nearly 100,000 first doses have been administered and 19% of the state’s residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Almost all counties in the state are now entering the newest vaccination phase phase, which includes restaurant, bar, gym and theater workers.
The order requiring the use of face masks took effect in December, after the number of active coronavirus cases in Wyoming swelled to more than 11,000.
Orders restricting the operations of bars, restaurants, theaters and gyms have been in place since mid-2020. Public health orders forced the temporary closure of such businesses early in the pandemic, but they re-opened with seating and hour restrictions in the middle of the year.