Governor Mark Gordon updated his trio of COVID-19 public health orders on Wednesday to loosen restriction placed on restaurants, child care facilities, cosmetologists, and public gathers.
The new orders are in-line with the variances approved for Goshen County by State Health Officer Alexia Harrist last week. Restaurants, bars, movie theaters and gymnasiums are allowed to reopen their public spaces, but social distancing guidelines are in place.
Gordon said that while the state has made strides in limiting the spread, COVID-19 is still a threat that should be taken seriously.
“This virus is not gone,” he said during a press conference on Wednesday. “It is still here, it is still invisible and it is still capable of wreaking havoc. It’s going to be with us for some time here in Wyoming, just like in the rest of the country.
“I’ve said over and over again that it’s time we get our head in the game. That means this isn’t to be taken lightly, but we are trying to work our way safely back to as normal a condition as we can get.”
Groups of customers in theaters, bars and restaurants are limited to six people, and there must be six feet between those groups. Customers can also expect to see increased signage encouraging social distancing, staff wearing face coverings and increased sanitation protocols.
The situation is similar in gyms. The revised public health order states that workout equipment must be at least six feet apart, and staff must clean each piece of equipment between patrons. Patronage is limited to one person per every 120 square feet.
“I want to thank restaurants and bars for their patience as we’ve worked through this,” Gordon said. “With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to say we might have done too much. I will say we have done what we should do and we will be very careful going forward.”
The order that limited public gatherings has been changed to allow gatherings of no more than 25 people, but churches and funeral homes may conduct larger services if they are able to ensure there will be at least six feet between household groups of attendees. Pastors, church staff and funeral home staff are to be screened for symptoms before services.
But still, Gordon maintained that churches should still find ways to broadcast their services for those who are uncomfortable with attending service in person, and those who are at a higher risk of complications from the virus.
“I want to thank our spiritual leaders, our pastors and our ministers and others, for taking care of their congregations,” he said. “I hope they will continue to have religious services available to watch from home whenever possible. Again, this is an invisible virus that can affect us in ways that nobody can anticipate.”
The amended public health orders are in place until May 31.