Gordon Considering New Restrictions Amidst COVID-19 Surge

Nov 13, 2020

Credit Wyoming PBS

Gov. Mark Gordon expressed frustration and anger at the toll the COVID-19 pandemic is taking on state residents.

He did not announce any new restrictions and extended present orders one week, but Gordon said he and other officials are still considering what steps to take next.

"What we're looking at is trying to calibrate a response that's proportionate to the challenge we see," he said at a press conference on Friday, November 13.

Wyoming's COVID-19 cases are surging to the highest levels the state has seen, hospitals are overwhelmed, the number of deaths are sharply increasing and not enough people are following safety precautions, Gordon reiterated multiple times throughout the press conference.

Gordon has not instituted a face mask mandate for the state so far, though public health officers across Wyoming and the Wyoming Hospital Association are urging him to do so. However, numerous local governments throughout the state and the Wind River Reservation have already made such policies.

Gordon said masks are important for safety but other precautions need to be considered as well.

"My point has never been face masks," he said. "My point has been, let's act responsibly, we know the things that we can do. Face masks can be helpful. They absolutely can be helpful. But I'm not saying that is a solution."

Gordon said hospitals and long-term care and assisted living facilities are overwhelmed with the effects of the virus.

Gordon said the state's economy is seeing a huge impact from the pandemic, and he's concerned it will only worsen as winter settles in.

"I've asked a number of businesses, 'Do you feel like you're gonna make it through this next year?'" he said. "And I gotta tell you people, there is not a heck of a lot of hope out there. So again, we've got to get our head in the game. That's what I said way back, when we first started this thing, we haven't got our head in the game, we're running around like chickens with their heads cut off."

Gordon continued to urge personal responsibility, as he has done for the past several months.

"I'm going to ask you to go to yourself, and ask yourself, 'Do you feel better today about what's going on in this state than you felt maybe in June, or July, or August when we were one of the lowest states for infection rates?'" he said.

Gordon said "all things are on the table" as far as potential new restrictions go and that his goal is to make sure the state-both residents and businesses-can pull through the coming winter.

As of Friday, there are more than 9,000 active cases of COVID-19 in Wyoming.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, at cwheel11@uwyo.edu .