Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon announced Thursday he is closing all public places statewide for a two-week period to help slow the community spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The closure order extends through April 3 and includes schools, theaters, bars, nightclubs, coffee shops, employee cafeterias, self-serve buffets, salad bars, unpackaged self-serve food services, gyms, conference rooms and museums.
“This Governor has never been inclined to overstep local authority, but these are unprecedented times. It is critical that there is uniformity across the state in how social distancing measures are implemented,” Gordon said in a news release.
Gordon said he's acting on the recommendation of Dr. Alexia Harrist, the state health officer.
“Wyoming, like all Americans, must commit to reducing the strain on our healthcare system. These are hard measures and they will be difficult for employees and businesses alike, but they are warranted,” Gordon said.
Restaurants will be closed to dine-in food service, but may remain open for curbside take-out or drive-through food service. Under the order, childcare centers will be closed except for those serving essential personnel.
“We realize this action will be very difficult for many of our residents. But it is an important step to help them avoid becoming ill and to help them avoid spreading COVID-19 to those who are most vulnerable. We should all work together to help keep our friends and neighbors safe," Harrist said.
Wyoming currently has 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the Wyoming Public Health laboratory has completed nearly 300 tests, as of Thursday. Additional testing is occurring at commercial laboratories. A nationwide shortage of testing supplies is impacting Wyoming, like all states. Social distancing measures are the most effective means of slowing the spread of COVID-19, according to Dr. Harrist.
While most individuals will likely not experience serious illness related to COVID-19, older residents and people with certain health conditions put them at higher risk of developing a serious or life-threatening illness.
Gordon and First Lady Jennie Gordon will host a "fireside chat" at 6:30 pm Thursday to communicate directly with Wyoming citizens about COVID-19. The chat will be streamed live on the governor’s Facebook page.