Gatherings of 250 people to be permitted, six rodeos still canceled

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Governor Mark Gordon has announced that updated public health orders effective June 1 will ease restrictions on public gatherings, allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 250 people.

The updated orders allow for outdoor events to occur with social distancing and increased sanitization measures in place. Sporting events, rodeos, and other events will be permitted to have up to 250 spectators in attendance, in addition to the event participants.

“It’s time we had the chance to enjoy summer,” Governor Gordon said in a news release. “The ability to gather outdoors in larger groups will be good for Wyoming citizens, businesses and our communities as we enter the season. We are not out of the woods yet though, so please use good judgement and don’t jeopardize yourself and others by acting recklessly. We want to keep moving forward.”

Still, the news came too late for six of Wyoming’s largest rodeos, which were all canceled today. Rodeos in question include the Thermopolis Cowboy Rendezvous PRCA Rodeo in late June as well the Cody Stampede, Central Wyoming Fair & PRCA Rodeo in Casper, the Sheridan WYO Rodeo and Breakaway Roping, Laramie Jubilee Days, and Cheyenne Frontier Days, all scheduled for July. Cheyenne Frontier Days was canceled for the first time in 124 years, the rodeo announced today.

“I grew up around rodeo and rodeoed myself. This isn’t easy,” Gordon said in a press conference today. “I know how important those events are to those communities and our citizens.”

The rodeos in question are just too large and the risk is too high to host them this summer, organizers said.

“One of the worst things we could do would be to cause our state to go backwards,” said Tom Hirsig, president and CEO of Cheyenne Frontier Days. “To cause businesses to close that had just opened because we caused another outbreak.”

Hirsig also noted that rodeos like his depend on volunteers, many of whom are in the high-risk category and would not be able to help this year.

Hosts and organizers of outdoor events that are still moving forward are asked to screen staff for symptoms of COVID-19 and ensure adequate personal protective equipment is available. Food and beverage services at outdoor gatherings are required to follow the provision for restaurants outlined in Public Health Order No. 1.

Indoor events and gatherings, other than religious gatherings and other exemptions listed in the order, will continue to be restricted to groups of 25 or fewer. No significant changes are being made to the updated Public Health Orders 1 and 3.

Updated copies of all three Public Health Orders are attached and can be found on Wyoming’s COVID-19 website.

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