Gov. Gordon Sees An End to COVID-19 – and the Mask Mandate
Written by Andrew-Rossi on February 18, 2021
How long will Wyoming residents be mandated to wear a mask? According to the governor, an end may be in sight.
While the state’s public health orders are slowly being eased back, there is still a statewide mask mandate in place. Governor Mark Gordon enacted the mandate in early December when COVID-19 cases were reaching critical levels, in Wyoming and nationwide.
Since 2020, the pandemic has calmed down significantly. The latest revisions to the state’s health orders allow for indoor gatherings of up to 500 people and outdoor gatherings of 1,000 people.
The mask mandate has yet to be lifted – so when will it be?
Governor Mark Gordon suggested an end may be in sight. On Wednesday. Feb. 17, the governor addressed the ongoing mask mandate on Daybreak with Darian Dudrick. While he didn’t commit to when the mandate will be lifted, he does see “a light at the end of the tunnel.”
The governor listed several upcoming events that are important for the state and its communities: State Finals for high school championship sports in Casper, the College National Finals Rodeo, Cheyenne’s Frontier Days, and the Cody Stampede. He’s anxious that these events proceed, but that they do so safely.
“We want to make sure all of these things go off without a hitch and with people feeling normal and enjoying life the way they should,” the governor said.
Eliminating the mask mandate soon is probably too little, too late for many Wyoming residents. There has been strong opposition to such orders from many groups, including the Park County Republican Party.
Last December, the Park County Republican Party targeted Park County Public Health Officer Dr. Aaron Billin. They were seeking to have him rescind the mandate enacted in Park County, calling in unconstitutional and an “end run” around the state’s elected officials
The effort was unsuccessful. Governor Gordon enacted the statewide mandate a few days later.
Wyoming’s mask mandate and other public health orders will be reassessed at the end of February.
“It’s all going to be science-driven,” the governor said. “I do anticipate that we’ll able to loosen (the mandate.)”
That being said, ending a statewide mask mandate wouldn’t stop local public health officers from enacting mandates in their counties. Public health officers just need to request and have a mandate approved by Alexia Harrist, the state health officer, if the local COVID-19 situation is serious enough.
Many counties, including Park and Washakie counties, were under their own county-wide mask mandates before Governor Gordon enacted one for the state.
As of Wednesday, Feb. 17, there were 7,964 probable cases of COVID-19 throughout Wyoming. The Wyoming Department of Health announced another series of deaths earlier this week, bringing the statewide total to 662.