By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
Teton County’s public health officer on Friday urged county residents to wear facemasks while inside as the county moved to the Centers for Disease Control’s “High Community Level” for coronavirus infection.
“I want to encourage our community to wear a mask in public, indoor settings while we remain in the High Community Level,” Teton County District Health Officer Dr. Travis Riddell said on Friday afternoon.
“We understand that moving up to the High Community Level is frustrating at this point in the pandemic,” Riddel said. “We would all prefer to move past COVID-19 and not hear that our risk for COVID-19 is increasing.”
Noting that Teton County is one of the most vaccinated areas of the country with nearly 95% of the population vaccinated, Riddell said preventive measures such as wearing masks, “are still the best steps to protect ourselves and limit virus propagation.”
There have been 169 cases of coronavirus in Teton County in the last week and six patients have been hospitalized.
Meanwhile, 500 miles north at Glacier National Park, a mask mandate was reinstated on Thursday.
One of two counties adjacent to the park reported a High Community Level of COVID-19, much like Teton County.
The impact on visitors will be “fairly low,” a public information officer told Montana Public Radio.
“The mask wearing mandate applies to federal buildings,” Gina Kerzman said. “So the employees who work inside of the federal buildings are mostly who this is affecting.”
She said rangers will avoid the mandate by moving park activities outdoors.
A tweet announcing the mandate further stated that the requirement was for everyone including those who have been vaccinated.
The announcement was immediately greeted with a great number of profanities and obscene gifs, although there was some support for the measure.
“It’s a small price to pay,” responded one commenter, to which he was immediately given an animated finger and a cartoon of the characters “Beavis and Butthead” pulling down their pants as if to moon the respondent.
There has been no word yet regarding similar requirements in other national parks such as Yellowstone or Grand Teton.
Calls to both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks were not returned late Friday afternoon.