Wyoming Returns to Pre-Pandemic Life – Health Orders Removed
Written by Andrew-Rossi on May 24, 2021
With the latest announcement from the Wyoming Department of Health, Wyoming can finally take a deep breath and say it’s back to the pre-pandemic times.
Wyomingites didn’t have to wait until the first week of June for the next update on the state’s public health orders. On Friday, May 21, the Wyoming Department of Health announced the most significant changes since the state’s public mask mandate was removed.
As of May 21, Public Health Order #2 – mandating masks during large indoor events – has been wholly rescinded.
Statewide public health order #2 mandated masks and social distancing for all indoor events of more than 500 people. It was one of the first orders enacted in March 2020, initially mandating masks for indoor activities.
This means this weekend’s Cody High School Graduation will be mask-free, regardless of the venue.
Public Health Order #2 is fully rescinded as of May 21. Nobody needs to wait until the first of the month for the order to take effect.
Meanwhile, Public Health Order #1, mandating masks in Wyoming schools, remains in effect – for now.
College mask use was immediately rescinded as of last Friday. But mask use and physical distancing requirements in K-12 schools will remain through May 31.
By that time, most if not all Wyoming schools will be dismissed for the summer. An extension of Public Health Order #1 beyond May 31 is not expected and unlikely.
While restrictions are being lifted, the message from local and regional health professionals remains the same: vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate.
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 has not disappeared completely. We continue to see confirmed cases across the state. The vast majority of recent, new cases have involved people who were not yet fully vaccinated,” says State Health Officer Alexia Harrist said. “I strongly encourage anyone who is eligible but who hasn’t yet been vaccinated to do so as soon as possible. These vaccines are free, safe, and effective. They offer many benefits, such as the ability to avoid quarantine after exposure to COVID-19 and are the best route we have to outsmart the pandemic.”
State health officials openly admit they wish vaccination numbers were higher.
While the number of vaccinated adults increases daily, W.D.H. data shows more than 28 percent of Wyoming residents are fully vaccinated as of May 21.
“There is no question we would like to see a much higher coverage percentage,” Harrist said. “But adults, including college students, across our state, have had ample opportunity to choose vaccination by this point,” Harrist said. “The change to the order affecting schools and colleges will reflect recently updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Mask use remains encouraged in Wyoming but will not be mandatory anywhere.
While Wyoming’s statewide mask mandate was rescinded in March, state officials still recommend masks in specific places and scenarios. For instance, all unvaccinated adults are encouraged to wear masks in crowded indoor spaces.
Mask use is still recommended in healthcare settings like nursing homes, assisted living facilities, correctional facilities, and homeless shelters. Also, private businesses and organizations may choose to require masks and other precautions without repercussion.