By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
(This story originally appeared on Cowboy State Daily)
Gov. Mark Gordon is going to relax many of Wyoming’s coronavirus-related health orders, he announced Thursday, the statewide mask mandate will remain in place until at least Feb. 28.
Beginning Monday, attendance limits for indoor and outdoor gatherings will increase. Indoor gatherings that incorporate social distancing and face coverings are permitted for up to 25% of capacity or 500 people, and outdoor gatherings of up to 1,000 people.
In addition, sporting events, artistic performances, restaurants and gyms all will see capacity limits eased. Restaurants will be able to seat up to eight people at a table rather than the six they are now limited to. Restrictions on gyms allowing one patron for every 120 square feet of space will also be lifted, although patrons will have to stay six feet away from each other.
“We are making good progress against this virus,” Gordon said. “Levels are returning to where they were before the dangerous spike in November and some counties have lifted restrictions. This is good news thanks to Wyoming’s people.”
The governor implemented the statewide mask mandate in December after much hesitation to do so.
“At the end of this month state wrestling, and shortly afterwards state basketball tournaments will happen,” Gordon said. “We want to ensure these events happen safely and successfully for the athletes, families and communities involved.”
Counties can still opt out of the requirements if local conditions move to safer levels in accordance with state metrics.
Health officials are regularly reviewing variance requests for specific events.
“Spring is coming and doing the right things now will allow us to have more people attending these events, have more people in restaurants and bars, and allow us to look forward to further easing our protocols,” Gordon said.
Gordon also praised Wyoming’s efficient coronavirus vaccine distribution rollout. Currently, more than 11% of the state’s population has received at least one dose.
“Our trends are encouraging and our vaccination effort is progressing smoothly. These orders allowing larger groups and more capacity will lift up small businesses, keep schools open and get us closer to normal,” Gordon said.
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