CHEYENNE – Beginning Monday, a COVID-19 health order restricting operations of Wyoming businesses like hair and nail salons, barber shops and tattoo parlors will no longer be in place.
Gov. Mark Gordon and the Wyoming Department of Health announced Thursday the removal of Health Order No. 3, as well as a continued easing of protocols related to restaurants and gathering size limitations. The order mandating statewide use of masks is still in place.
The change is because of continued improvement of COVID-19 metrics, including fewer cases and hospitalizations, Gordon said in a Thursday afternoon news release. The new orders will be in effect until March 15.
"The efforts made so far have allowed us to maximize attendance safely at larger events, like the state high school wrestling championships this weekend, and the state high school basketball tournament that was canceled last year," Gordon said. "If we continue on our current trajectory, I expect us to be able to continue to remove orders as we safely return to a new normal."
Additional changes to statewide health orders are anticipated, Gordon said, with vaccination efforts expected to help speed up the improvement of COVID-19 metrics.
Groups of 10 will now be allowed to sit together in restaurants and theaters, up from groups of eight. Buffets and self-service will be allowed in restaurants, and staff screening logs and signage requirements will be relaxed.
Gathering sizes without required distancing between groups, which were previously limited to 25 people, will be expanded to a maximum of 50. Participants in organized sporting events and artistic performances, previously limited to 25 people, will also be expanded to a maximum of 50.
Indoor events that follow social distancing and mask-wearing protocols will allow up to 25% of venue capacity, with a maximum of 1,000 people, up from 500. Outdoor events will allow up to 50% of venue capacity, with a maximum of 2,000 people, up from 1,000. Groups of up to 10 will now be permitted to sit together, up from 8, in both indoor and outdoor settings.
Gordon added that four counties have now received approval to implement orders differing from statewide restrictions because of local conditions.
On Thursday, the state reported 652 active COVID-19 cases, up 14 from Wednesday. Laramie County accounted for 60 of those active cases, an increase of 13 from the previous day.
According to Thursday figures from the Wyoming Department of Health, at least 82,450 Wyomingites, or about 14%, have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with roughly half of those having received their second dose. These numbers do not include federal doses of the vaccine that have been provided separately to tribal groups, Department of Veterans Affairs or military facilities.