Federal mask mandates go into effect

JACKSON, Wyo. — Two new federal mask mandates are being implemented this month, in accordance with two executive orders signed by President Biden in January, only days after taking office. Executive Order 13991 requires masks to be worn in all federal buildings and on federal lands. Executive Order 13998 requires masks on all domestic public transportation systems.

Order 13991

Order 13991 requires “all on-duty or on-site Federal employees, on-site Federal contractors, and other individuals in Federal buildings and on Federal lands to wear masks, maintain physical distance, and adhere to other public health measures, as provided in CDC guidelines.”

The National Park Service (NPS) implemented a mask requirement for employees, visitors, partners, and contractors, effective Feb. 2, in accordance with Executive order 13991. Face masks are now required in all NPS buildings and facilities. Masks are also required on NPS-managed lands when physical distancing cannot be maintained, including narrow or busy trails, overlooks, and historic homes. Additional public health measures are in place across the service, from capacity limits to one-way trails, or even temporary closures in response to local conditions.

“Wearing a mask around others, physical distancing, and washing your hands are the simplest and most effective public health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said NPS Office of Public Health Director Captain Sara Newman. “Getting outside and enjoying our public lands is essential to improving mental and physical health, but we all need to work together to recreate responsibly.”

The order is based on the protection of federal employees and those who interact with them and to ensure the continuation of government services and activities.

“Working with public health officials and following the latest science and guidance, we can make national parks safer for employees, visitors and partners,” said NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge. “We will continue to evaluate operations and make appropriate modifications to visitor services as needed.”

Federal buildings are defined as buildings or office spaces, owned, leased, or rented by the executive branch, in which a substantial number of employees are federal employees or contractors. Federal lands mean lands under executive branch control.

Order 13998

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an Order for a mask requirement on public transportation systems nationwide including rail, van, bus, and motor coaches to mitigate the risk of COVID-19. The order went into effect yesterday, Feb. 1.

The CDC Order implements President Biden’s Executive Order 13998 signed on Jan. 25, promoting COVID-19 safety in domestic travel, “To save lives and allow all Americans, including the millions of people employed in the transportation industry, to travel and work safely.” Teton County has mandated masks on public buses since July.

According to the order, requiring masks will protect America’s transportation workers and passengers, help control the transmission of COVID-19, and aid in fully re-opening America’s economy.

In Teton County, this means that face coverings must be worn on all START buses, at all bus stops and shelters, and at any location where START bus tickets or passes are sold.

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