Wyoming To Order Two-Week Closure Of Public Spaces

Mar 19, 2020

Downtown Laramie
Credit Nyttend

The Wyoming State Health Officer, with the support of Governor Mark Gordon, found it's necessary to close public spaces for a two-week period in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The closure affects schools, theaters, bars, nightclubs, coffee shops, employee cafeterias, self-serve buffets, salad bars, unpackaged self-serve food services, gyms, conference rooms and museums. Restaurants will be open for curb-side take-out or drive-thru service. Childcare centers will also be closed except for those server essential personnel.

"It is critical that there is uniformity across the state in how social distancing measures are implemented," Gordon said.

Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with the Wyoming Department of Health, said, "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."

Wyoming currently has 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and the Wyoming Public Health laboratory has completed nearly 300 tests, as of March 19, 2020. 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 or hospitalization related to COVID-19, older residents and people with certain health conditions are at higher risk of developing a serious or life-threatening illness.

The closure will last until April 3.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Cooper McKim, at cmckim5@uwyo.edu.