By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
After reviewing all public comments submitted this week and in consulting with state health officer Dr. Alexia Harrist, Teton County’s health officer has implemented a new countywide facemask mandate that will be in effect until at least Sept. 4, the county announced Thursday.
Dr. Travis Riddell put the order in place on Thursday afternoon and it will expire after Sept. 4 unless the Teton County Board of Commissioners or the Jackson Town Council, or both, decide to extend it.
The order requires people to wear masks inside any business or government facility open to the public, health care facilities or while riding on public transportation. This mandate will also extend to K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions, requiring all students, teachers, staff and visitors to wear masks.
There are exceptions to the order, including if a person has a medical condition that would affect their breathing by wearing a mask.
“Taking into account the public comment submitted and looking at the current high transmission of COVID-19 in Teton County, it is important to issue this health order to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” Riddell said. “Wearing a face mask is one of the many preventative public health measures along with staying home when sick and the COVID-19 vaccines to help slow the transmission of COVID-19 in the community and keep our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed. We ask the entire community to work together to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect those in our community who are more vulnerable or who are not able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”
The order doesn’t mandate mask usage in any outdoor situations.
This is the first of Wyoming’s 23 counties to implement a new mask order since the statewide mask mandate expired in mid-March. Teton County kept its mask order in place longer than any other county in the state, letting it expire in early May.
As of Thursday, Teton County had 181 active coronavirus cases.
Gov. Mark Gordon has refused to implement any new health mandates, masks or otherwise. However, he is letting Wyoming cities, counties and school districts decide for themselves on whether or not a mask mandate is appropriate.