Eight Counties Apply For Local Mask Mandates

Nov 17, 2020

Credit Mask Up Park County

Last week, public health officers sent a letter requesting Gov. Mark Gordon to create a statewide mask mandate as COVID-19 cases surge and hospitals are filling up. But at a press conference, Gordon did not announce any new restrictions.

Wyoming is one of the last states without a mask mandate, despite sitting as the fourth highest-risk state. Teton County Public Health Officer Dr. Travis Ridell said the governor needs to stop depending on the personal responsibility approach.

"Wyoming is one of the worst states in terms of mask wearing. Wyoming has the very lowest percentage state at somewhere 60 to 65 percent," said Ridell. "Whereas, you know, there are other states out there on the coasts that are above 90 percent."

Monday, November 16, eight counties submitted requests for a county mask mandate to the Wyoming Department of Health. Natrona, Sweetwater, Sheridan, Park, Lincoln, Goshen, Sublette and Hot Springs all may have a county mask mandate this week, if approved by the Department of Health.

Teton County Public Health Officer Dr. Travis Ridell said he's disappointed that Wyoming is becoming one of an increasingly small number of states that doesn't have a statewide mask mandate.

"We're not only protecting each other, but we're protecting ourselves. And when we all do it together, the benefits aren't just additive, but multiplicative. And, I think that's a really strong argument."

Ridell said a mask mandate would help stop the surge of new cases which in turn would help hospitals from filling up so quickly. Teton County has had a county mask mandate since July. Its number of COVID-19 cases has increased much more slowly than other counties during the current surge. Laramie and Albany counties and the Wind River Reservation also have mask mandates.

Gordon said he will announce news restrictions some time this week.