New health order limits gatherings to households only

JACKSON, Wyo. — Stop hanging out with people you don’t live with. That’s an order.

Teton Health District Officer Travis Riddell, MD, issued a county-wide Public Health Order yesterday, March 30 that requires all people within Teton County limit gatherings to only individuals within the same family or household. The order was approved and signed by Wyoming State Health Officer Alexia Harrist, MD, Ph.D.

“I am pleased that we have been able to enact another incremental step to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” Riddell said. “However, the individual decisions each of us make every day collectively remain our single most powerful tool in controlling the virus.”

The Wyoming Statutes explicitly grant the power to issue public health orders to medical professionals, rather than elected officials. The Wyoming State Health Officer, a medical doctor, authorizes and directs the Teton District Health Officer, also a medical doctor, to issue public health orders. Teton County and the Town of Jackson have formed the Teton Health District which encompasses Teton County, Wyoming, and includes the town of Jackson. The Teton Health District has a Board of Health that appoints the District Health Officer.

The Countywide Public Health Order #20-4 is now in effect and will remain valid through April 17.

Public Health Order #20-4 orders that:

All Residents of Teton County, Wyoming, including the City of Jackson, Wyoming shall limit gatherings to only individuals who are living in the same household.

There are six circumstances in which a person may leave their home:

  1. Performing tasks essential to their health and safety, or for the health and safety of their household members or pets, including, by example and without limitation, obtaining medical supplies or medication or visiting a health care professional.
  2. Care for a family member or pet in another household.
  3. Obtain necessary supplies for self or household members (including, by example
    and without limitation, groceries, food, liquor, sporting goods, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of a residence).
  4. Deliver necessary supplies (including, by example and without limitation, groceries,
    food, liquor, sporting goods, and products necessary to maintain for safety, sanitation, and essential operation of a residence).
  5. Engage in outdoor activity, so long as six feet is maintained between any person
    not in the same household.
  6. Travel to and work at a place of employment, if the work cannot be done remotely
    from home.

Countywide Order #20-4 also defines physical distancing requirements:

Maintain at least six feet distance from other individuals, wash hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible, or use hand sanitizer, cover coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), and regularly clean high touch surfaces. Do not shake hands.

Penalty/Violation
Any person or legal entity that violates any public health order shall be subject to criminal prosecution under Wyoming Statutes §35-1-105 and/or 35-1-106. Failure or refusal to obey a public health order issued by the State Health Officer and/or the Teton District Health Officer may result in a criminal prosecution of a high misdemeanor ($1,000 fine or by imprisonment for not more than one year or both).

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