No new requirements for the use of facemasks will be coming from the office of Gov. Mark Gordon despite the recent spike in active coronavirus cases, he said Monday.
Gordon, speaking during a media conference Monday, repeated statements that he will leave it to local government entities to decide whether a mask mandate is necessary.
“Let me be clear, we will not issue any mandates, no mandates will come from this office,” Gordon told reporters. “This has been my stance and we have not wavered from it.” Gordon issued a mask mandate in early December and rescinded it in mid-March, although he allowed cities and counties to adopt their own mask mandates.
This, he said on Monday, would be the case again: cities, counties and school districts would have free will to implement mask mandates. The University of Wyoming last week approved a mandate that would require students to wear masks until at least Sept. 20. There will also be no business lockdowns, such as what was seen early in the pandemic in March of last year.
Many Wyoming businesses, including restaurants, hair salons, gyms and more, were closed until May to some extent due to the virus. While some businesses and organizations have implemented vaccine incentives, such as the city of Cheyenne and the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, there has been no incentive program created on a statewide level.
As of Monday, Wyoming had 2,083 active COVID-19 cases and 112 COVID-related hospitalizations. Gordon said his office is in regular communication with state health officer Alexia Harrist and the Wyoming Department of Health about making health recommendations, rather than mandates.
“I think it’s advisable to wear masks, but there are those who feel very strongly that masks are not the appropriate measure to take,” he said.
However, Gordon did once again encourage Wyoming residents to get vaccinated against the virus. Around 34% of the state has been fully vaccinated, with Teton County having the highest rate, at 70.8%.
“Wyoming is the state where we respect our responsibilities,” the governor said. “People in Wyoming should be aware our employment situation is fragile everywhere you go…so the more we can get COVID under control, the better our chances of keeping our economy without the impacts of people going home because they’re sick.”