Wyoming residents looking for a little escape to nature from the COVID-19 pandemic will have to wait a little longer.
Gov. Mark Gordon on Wednesday afternoon announced that state parks will reopen campgrounds to Wyoming residents only beginning May 15. He also said a public health order limiting gatherings of people to 10 or fewer has been extended until at least May 8.
“Some states do not have (things) like camping available at this time, so we’ve been very cautious about camping,” Gordon said.
Not limiting camping to state residents would encourage too many people from out of state looking to escape their virus restrictions to come to Wyoming, which is an unnecessary risk for Cowboy State residents, he said. That’s also why he extended the gatherings order.
Gordon said that in February before the state had any virus-related orders in place that out-of-state visitors to state campgrounds was at a level usually seen during June. Without a restriction to only state residents would likely attract more visitors than would be safe, he said.
As personal-care services like gyms, barber shops, hair salons and massage parlors can reopen under certain conditions Friday, the governor urged people to respect and follow any safety measures businesses put in place. That includes wearing a face mask if asked and follow directions from staff.
“Respect the requests of staffs and establishments as they open,” Gordon said. “One step forward, two steps backward is not the way we want to go here.”
He also said any frustration with businesses likely isn’t anything they can change because they’re following state guidelines to limit gatherings and personal contact.
“Businesses are only trying to follow rules and good advice,” he said, adding that personal-care services “do not need to receive special permission from their county health office to reopen as long as they can comply with the conditions in the order.”
Those include wearing face masks when in contact like getting a haircut or nails done, along with having at least 6 feet between work stations and not allowing people to gather in waiting areas.
“I know people are impatient and anxious,” the governor said. “It is absolutely imperative we do not lose the ground we’ve gained.”
Campbell County down to 1 active case
Statewide, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases passed 400 and sits at 404, according the Wyoming Department of Health’s daily virus update.
Locally, the number of cases remains unchanged at 14, but with the recovery of two more virus patients, Campbell County Health reported Wednesday afternoon there remains one active case of COVID-19 in the county. Also, the county is monitoring five households with at least one person who has been identified as a possible positive.
See Thursday’s News Record for more from Gordon’s press briefing and information on testing in the state and county.