Jackson orders residents to stay at home

JACKSON, Wyo. — Town councilors unanimously voted this afternoon to approve an emergency Stay-At-Home Ordinance, effective immediately.

The ordinance requires all Jackson residents to stay at home and applies to all people within the town of Jackson, regardless of age.

There are exceptions for essential activities and essential employees. According to the ordinance, people may leave their homes for “essential activities” which include health and safety, supplies and services, outdoor activity, and certain types of work. It classifies two different “essential” types of work: at an essential business, or to perform the “minimum basic essential operations” of non-essential businesses.

Essential businesses include healthcare, essential government functions, groceries, restaurants that can provide off-premise food, liquor stores, and overnight lodging with regulations.

Councilors agreed that a town ordinance is not the perfect option. It only applies to town residents and does not reach the county. A county-wide health order would be further-reaching, but requires a signature from the Wyoming State Health Officer.

The state did sign a county-wide health order just before today’s meeting ordering people over 65 and with high-risk medical conditions to stay at home except for essential activities. The order was submitted to the state five days ago and getting it approved was “excruciatingly slow,” said County Health Officer Travis Riddell. And by now, it’s not enough, electeds agreed. Riddell said he has drafted and will submit another county-wide public order to the State Health Officer that mirrors the town’s ordinance.

“I’m absolutely in favor of a community-wide order,” Riddell said.

The town ordinance is technically law, but elected admitted it will be difficult to enforce. Still, the important thing is the message it sends “to the community and state,” said Town Councilor Jonathan Schechter.

The ordinance is in effect immediately and will remain in effect until at least April 17.

“We’re all hopeful April 17 is the end date, but it’s going to be up to us,” said Mayor Pete Muldoon. “How we respond to this challenge will determine how we get through it. It is dependent on how the virus moves through the community, which is dependent on what we do.”

Read the draft ordinance here.

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