By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s decision not to impose any kind of a “stay-at-home” order at the height of the coronavirus pandemic was the right one, Gov. Mark Gordon said Monday.
Gordon, speaking to reporters following the end of the Legislature’s budget session, reflected on the emergency declaration issued because of the coronavirus that was allowed to expire Monday after being in place for two years.
Gordon noted that the state was one of just a handful not to tell its residents to “shelter in place” and the decision turned out to be the right one.
“I’m very proud that we stood up for people’s liberties,” he said. “There were only seven of us that refused to really put some kind of ‘stay-at-home’ orders in place. And I think all of us have had a really good track record showing that we didn’t need to do that.”
Gordon said he feels Wyoming did a good job of managing the illness, which forced the shutdown of much of the nation after it was discovered in early 2020.
“I think the state did very well,” he said. “And I know not everybody’s happy and I certainly understand that, but when I think you look at our achievements, starting with school days … we have … reportedly the most school days in-person, percentage-wise, of any state in the nation I know a lot of my Republican colleagues are talking about that, too.”
Although Wyoming was competing with other states for scarce federal resources, such as personal protective equipment, it was able to do so successfully, Gordon said.
“I’m glad that we punched well above our weight in that effort,” he said.
Gordon praised the state’s public health laboratory for developing testing techniques and mediums that allowed the state to keep up with COVID testing even when national supplies were slim.
He also noted the state’s residents did what they could to minimize the impact of the illness, even though some may have objected to the restrictions put in place on businesses in 2020.
“When I looked around the state at the people of Wyoming … they were really good about what needed to be done and how they needed to address it,” he said. “I’m very proud of the fact that … people got (to) stress their points of view, their dissatisfaction with what the state government was doing. You know, nobody got arrested or thrown in jail because of this.”