State approves Hot Springs County face covering requirement
November 19, 2020
Public Health Order 2020-3 requiring all adults within Hot Springs County, Wyoming, to wear face coverings in certain places open to the public, with exceptions, took effect on Wednesday, Nov. 18.
COVID-19 cases statewide and in Hot Springs County are reportedly on the rise.
Hot Springs is one of eight counties in Wyoming that recently made requests to the Wyoming Department of Health to enact local mask orders.
Hot Springs County Health Officer Dr. Vernon Miller made the request which was approved by State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist.
The order specifically stipulates it only involves adults, not minors.
The document outlines the situations where face coverings are required in any retail or commercial business, or any government facility open to the general public, including county and municipal buildings but excluding state and federal buildings.
It states that all employees, owners and volunteers of retail and commercial businesses and government facilities open to the general public shall wear face coverings when interacting with the public.
There are several listed exceptions where a face covering is not required under certain circumstances.
The full document is available to view and print on the Thermopolis Independent Record website at thermopir.com.
County Health Officers in 21 Wyoming counties sent a letter to Gov. Mark Gordon last Thursday requesting a statewide mask ordinance.
Again, HSC Health Officer Dr. Vernon Miller is one of those requesting the statewide ordinance.
The letter states, “We understand that there is a mechanism for each county to individually mandate a mask ordinance. However, this would take considerably more time and would likely be less consistently achieved. We feel that a statewide mandate sends a more powerful and effective message in a more timely manner.”
Governor Gordon is considering the statewide face mask order, among other added restrictions, and has said local officials have full support of his office in enacting their own public health measures.
Last Friday Gordon extended the state’s current public health orders by one week while he considers every option regarding new restrictions.
Gordon said, “All things are on the table.”
Many of the deaths linked to the virus have been in long-term care facilities. Gordon said those populations are being put at greater risk “because we are being knuckleheads about this.”
“We’ve relied on people to be responsible and they’re being irresponsible,” he said. “If I can’t rely on you, we’re going to have to do something else.”
At press time, Gordon hasn’t announced what new measures are coming.
During a recent online meeting with Gov. Gordon, business owners expressed concern about the growing number of coronavirus cases in the state, but did not agree on measures that should be taken by the state.
Some asked for a mask mandate, but Shailee Harvey, co-owner of Kirby Creek Mercantile, does not favor a mask mandate.
“Quality of life is important,” she said. “I will not let my business go under because we had to wear a mask. It should not depend on whether the government should say we are open or not.”