Governor Gordon: Bars Can Stay Open but Masks Stay On
Written by Andrew-Rossi on January 3, 2021
Things will begin easing their way back to normal – for now.
Governor Mark Gordon has released the latest amendments to Wyoming’s public health orders, now in its 19th iteration since they were first imposed on March 13, 2020. The changes, which take effect Saturday, Jan. 9, means that many local entities can literally start doing their business as usual.
Effective Jan. 9, bars and restaurants can remain open for onsite consumption 24 hours a day if they wish. This removes the mandate restricting patrons and service inside these establishments from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., which has been in place since December.
Park County unsuccessfully sought a variance to that order in December, hoping to keep bars open until midnight for New Year’s Eve celebrations. The variance was denied on the grounds that the county’s case numbers were too high to suggest that level of public engagement was safe.
Also, the latest amendments also allow greater participation in recreation programs at gyms and fitness centers. The limit of participants has been raised from 10 to 25.
“Thank you to the people of Wyoming who recognized the strain on their hospitals and health care workers and acted accordingly,” Governor Gordon said. “I also want to express my gratitude to those businesses that adapted to these temporary measures. These have not been easy times for anyone We are not out of the woods yet, but continued personal safety measures while the vaccine is being distributed will enable our state’s schools and businesses to continue to remain open.”
One thing has not changed: the statewide mask mandate.
Wyomingites are still required to wear face coverings – “made of cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material, without holes, that covers the nose and mouth” – until Jan. 25. At that time, as has become the pattern, the public health orders will be reevaluated and may be changed by the governor and the Wyoming Department of Health.
Face coverings are required in businesses and government facilities, by everyone 12 years and older. The same exceptions are in place as well – masks don’t need to be worn by people in a personal office, anyone seated at a restaurant provided there is appropriate social distancing, and anyone with a medical condition that could be exacerbated by a face covering.
These changes come after the deadliest month of the pandemic in Wyoming so far: the state reported 223 COVID-19 deaths in December, overtaking the record set in November 2020: 210 deaths. But hospitalizations are decreased overall, with only 113 as of Dec. 30. November was again the record holder with 247 hospitalizations at its peak.
Amidst all this, Park County is still under its own mask mandate. That remains in effect until Friday, Jan. 8, and there’s currently no word on if it will be extended.
Park County entered 2021 with nearly 70 active cases, 6 hospitalizations, and 10 reported deaths