Teton County and Jackson officials issued separate but similar orders over the weekend for their residents to remain at their homes if at all possible to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Jackson’s order, adopted as an emergency ordinance by its town council, applied to all of the town’s residents, while the order issued by Teton County’s health officer applied to those age 65 and older and those suffering from high-risk medical conditions. Both were issued Saturday.
“(We) have seen mounting evidence that community-wide stay-at-home orders can have significant impacts on slowing the virus’ spread, particularly when implemented in the early phase of viral community spread,” said Dr. Travis Riddell, Teton County’s health officer. “We are in that phase now. I am absolutely in favor of a community-wide stay-at-home order.”
Both orders direct residents to stay at home except to perform tasks essential to health and safety, to obtain or deliver necessary supplies or services — such as groceries or medical supplies — to work at an essential business, to care for others or to take part in outdoor activities. In all cases, the orders required people to stay at least six feet away from each other.
Teton County and Jackson are the first Wyoming entities to issue “stay-at-home” orders.
Carl Pelletier, a public information officer and special events coordinator for Jackson, stressed the “stay at home” order is very different from the more restrictive “shelter in place” orders seen in other areas because a “stay at home” order allows people to go outside.
“When I hear ‘Shelter-in-Place’ I think of hunkering down in my basement during a tornado when growing up in the midwest, or not leaving my home due to a massive chemical spill occurring in West Jackson, or if there was an active shooter roaming through town a ‘Shelter-in-Place’ order might be instituted,” he wrote in an email to a reporter. “A ‘Stay-at-Home’ ordinance allows individuals to be outside their homes … raking leaves, hiking up Snow King, sitting on your lawn and soaking in some sun.”