Gov. Mark Gordon announced Monday that he has begun the process to end Wyoming’s COVID-19 public health emergency declaration, two years after it was put in place.
The declaration will end March 14, two years after COVID was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.
“As we see our case numbers and hospitalizations receding, it is time to begin the shift to a new phase. This virus will be with us for the foreseeable future and we should manage it appropriately,” Gordon said. “That means being personally responsible for one’s own health and respectful of your family and neighbors. Use the tools we now have available and stay home when you’re sick.”
As Monday, Wyoming had 565 active COVID cases.
Gordon has been coordinating with impacted executive branch agencies and licensing boards to ensure they are prepared to make adjustments where necessary.
Gordon declared an emergency for the state on March 13, 2020, shortly after then-President Donald Trump declared a nationwide emergency.
The declaration allowed the state to be better prepared to activate its National Guard, if necessary, and allowed businesses to take advantage of emergency COVID relief programs.
It also cleared the way for Gordon in December 2020 to issue a statewide mandate the use of facemasks. The order was lifted in March 2021.
Going forward, the Wyoming Department of Health will continue to serve as a resource for COVID information and support, Gordon said.
Most Wyomingites will not be affected by the end of the declaration, Gordon said. The limited scope of impacts include the expiration of the federally-funded SNAP emergency allotment, which will take effect May 1, and the elimination of emergency rule changes to licensure requirements for the Board of Medicine and the Board of Nursing.
“I extend my appreciation to our medical community, first responders, public health officials and National Guard volunteers statewide who have shown their commitment to the people of Wyoming throughout this pandemic,” the Governor said. “As we wind down from the emergency, the public can expect to see some changes in how information is relayed.”
Gordon, the Department of Health, a number of school districts and several other defendants are in the midst of a lawsuit brought forth by a slew of plaintiffs over school mask mandates and Gordon’s emergency health order.
The lawsuit asks the court to find there was never an imminent threat to Wyoming’s residents from coronavirus, that Gordon’s initial emergency declaration was unconstitutional, that school districts have no authority to impose such mandates and that all such orders should be lifted immediately.