CHEYENNE – The number of COVID-19 positive cases in Laramie County continues to increase, so the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department will be working closely with the Cheyenne Police Department and Laramie County Sheriff’s office on compliance checks with local restaurants and bars.
According to a news release sent Friday afternoon, effective immediately, the compliance checks may result in citations to establishments for failing to comply with state health orders in place dealing with COVID-19. Law enforcement has the authority through state statute to issue citations for establishments “will- fully violating, disobeying or disregarding public health laws of Wyoming or orders.”
State statutes authorize citations with penalties ranging between $100 and $1,000.
“It’s unfortunate that we have establishments that are blatantly disregarding the orders which mandate the wearing of face coverings and gloves, as well as social distancing in restaurants and bars in Cheyenne,” Dr. Stan Hartman, county health officer, said in the release. “The result is that even though some are doing a great job, others are potentially contributing to the spread of the virus.”
“We hope these steps will prove unnecessary and our businesses are taking appropriate precautions,” Mike Moser, executive director of the Wyoming State Liquor Association, said in the release. “But we don’t want to go down the road that Texas and Florida have had to take in closing bars again and severely restricting restaurants.”
Earlier this week, five restaurants were identified with COVID-19 positive staff.
Those establishments were Accomplice Brewing Company, Wyoming’s Rib and Chop House, Buffalo Wild Wings, Tortilla Factory on South Greeley Highway and Red Lobster.
Kathy Emmons, Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department Director, said “the goal was not to imply that these establishments weren’t doing a good job. The goal was to alert the public that they may have been exposed and to watch for potential symptoms. Our hope is that by increasing compliance in all Laramie County establishments, we can limit exposure and reduce the spread.”
“We encourage restaurants and patrons across Laramie County and all of Wyoming to follow county and state health orders closely,” said Chris Brown, Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association executive director, in the release. “By doing our part to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, we welcome guests to dine in a safe environment and will be able to get back to regular business sooner.”