CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) Governor Mark Gordon has announced that new public health orders effective May 1 will allow gyms, barber shops, hair salons and other personal care services to reopen under specific operating conditions designed to minimize public health risk from COVID-19.
Governor Mark Gordon addresses the state of Wyoming discussing the COVID-19 pandemic. April 8, 2020.
Other parts of the phased approach involve easing restrictions on daycares and issuing guidance to hospitals allowing them to resume elective surgeries.
“These new orders start our process of getting this part of Wyoming’s economy up and running again,” Governor Gordon said. “We have asked Wyoming citizens to make sacrifices over the past five weeks and they have responded. I want to thank these businesses for playing such an important role in our initial battle with COVID-19. Easing the restrictions on these businesses at this time is prudent and gets us one step closer to a return to normal.”
Another part of this phase allows some additional localized approaches to further easing restrictions based on local expertise and health data.
“We all recognize that the virus has had severe impacts in some Wyoming communities, while other towns and counties have been spared,” Governor Gordon said. “This plan takes into account the continued safety of our citizens and establishes a process to consider some case-by-case exceptions to state health orders when appropriate. It is important that we do not surrender the ground we have taken and that we extend our gains against this virus.”
Under modified order Number 1, 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. This order is also modified to allow 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.
Under modified order Number 3, nail and hair salons, barber shops; cosmetology, electrology, and esthetic services; massage therapy services; and tattoo, body art and piercing shops may also 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.
No business closed through the public health orders is required to open on May 1. Businesses that choose to stay closed are still eligible for assistance from Small Business Administration (SBA) programs.
The Department of Health has also issued updated guidance to hospitals and health care providers outlining how they can resume elective surgeries. That is effective immediately.
Public health order Number 2 limiting public gatherings to 10 persons or fewer has been extended through May 15. The Governor’s directive requiring any individual coming to Wyoming to self-quarantine for 14 days remains in place through April 30. An extension to the directive is currently under review, with a decision expected tomorrow.
All three statewide orders have a provision allowing county health officers to submit requests for countywide variances from those orders if the public health conditions in the county warrant the change. The goal is to provide a measure of flexibility in recognition of the fact that public health conditions can vary greatly from county to county in Wyoming.
The Wyoming Business Council will host a series of webinars beginning April 29 to provide information and guidance for businesses eligible for reopening under the new orders.
To register, visit https://wyomingbusiness.org/transition.
Gordon stressed the still-present threat of COVID-19 to Wyoming -- pointing to Fremont County as a notable example -- citing it as the reason for many of the continuing restrictions on state businesses and infrastructure.
Restrictions on overnight camping in state parks remain in place for the time being, though Gordon says he is "anxious" to get overnight camping "up and going"; deliberations are being made whether to extend the restrictions, as easing them could incentivize residents of neighboring states to flock to Wyoming, which might exacerbate the spread of COVID-19.
While school building closures will continue through May 15, individual school districts can reach out to county health officers to ask for exemptions.