State Health officer expands on changing COVID-19 restrictions

Statewide restrictions that were put into place in response to the coronavirus caused COVID-19 global pandemic will be extended into mid-may, however two of the three restrictions will move forward with significant changes.

Wyoming Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist spoke to Wyoming citizens at a broadcast briefing from Cheyenne, Tuesday April 28, 2020.

“We must make thoughtful and measured choices as we navigate our way through this pandemic,” Harrist said. “If we aren’t purposeful, we could face a potentially worse situation in Wyoming for both health and economic impacts. I want us to move forward, but safely.”

Harrist went on to say that the first steps would be small ones, and clarified that Wyoming is not ready for giant leaps at this time. She went on to say that she believed public behavior under the current guidelines has assisted in stopping spread of the disease, but that more study is needed.

“Our first steps forward must be smaller steps that involve lower risk and fewer people,” Harrist said. “We need more time to see how this disease will progress over time, and how each of our moves forward will affect Wyoming.”

Statewide orders, seeking to restrict public gatherings of more than ten people, will remain until at least May 15, Harrist said. But some restrictions are lifting.

Under statewide order Number 1, bars restaurants, theatres, gymnasiums, child care facilities, schools, colleges, and trade schools were closed. Modifications to the order will see three adjustmens:

  • Gyms will  be permitted to open on May 1, by adhering to public health guidelines outlined in the new order. These include limits on the number of patrons in the facility, a requirement that staff wear face coverings, and the closure of locker rooms. Gyms are also prohibited from offering one-on-one personal training and group classes.
  • Child care centers and home daycares to reopen or continue to operate under specific conditions and precautions. These include limiting groups of people to fewer than 10 per room and implementing screening and cleaning protocols.
  • Up to five people may be allowed into restaurants to pick up orders, with appropriate social distancing.
  • Order number one has otherwise been extended until May 15, 2020.

Statewide health order Number 2, which limits gatherings to ten people or fewer, will remain in place.

  • Modifications to the order will extend the order until May 15, 2020

Statewide order Number 3, closed nail and hair salons, barber shops; cosmetology, electrology, and esthetic services; massage therapy services; and tattoo, body art and piercing shops.

  • For modifications to order Number 3, the above businesses may open in a limited capacity on May 1 under certain conditions.
    • These include operational requirements limiting the number of patrons, screening of patrons and staff for symptoms of illness or exposure to a person with COVID-19, requiring patrons and staff to wear face coverings and eliminating waiting areas.
  • Statewide order Number 3 has also been extended to May 15, 2020.

“It is true that you can’t cut someone’s hair from less than a six foot distance,” Harrist told media and residents on Tuesday. “But you can take precautions to help keep customers apart, to reduce their risk, and to make the interactions between customers and clients more safe. These businesses can be managed to ensure fewer people are together at one time. Fewer people together means less risk of spreading the illness.”

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