Teton County will not seek variances to state health orders

JACKSON, Wyo. — Teton District Health Officer Travis Riddell announced today he will not seek variances on three updated statewide public health orders that ease restrictions intended to limit the potential spread of COVID-19.

“I’m pleased to say that we can follow along with these state guidelines,” Riddell said at a community update this afternoon. “Teton County is looking good. We do not have any reason to request more restrictive variances on these, which is good news.”

The modified health order allows events and gatherings of up to 250 people under stringent guidelines and health measures. The orders are effective Monday, June 1 through June 15.

Some of the notable modifications to the health orders include:

  • Allowance 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.
  • Hosts and organizers of these outdoor events 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 Statewide Public Health Order #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 Statewide Public Health Orders #1 and #3.

“Thanks to the ongoing efforts of many in our community, we continue to see decreasing COVID-19 activity. Therefore, Teton County is able to continue the phased reopening process as directed by the State Health Officer and it will not be necessary to pursue stricter measures via variances to the State Public Health Orders at this time in Teton County,” Riddell said in a press release. “Our ability to continue the reopening process moving forward will be dependent on individuals’ choices to follow public health guidance.”

Riddell also issued an update to his health recommendation that people wear masks. The updated recommendation provides more scientific evidence in favor of wearing face masks in public and offers specific settings in which people should wear them.

“I’m well aware that there are some people who will be disappointed that this is a recommendation and not an order,” Riddell said at today’s’ community update. “It’s been really interesting for me to see that while medical data is coalescing around the importance of masks, popular opinion seems to be doing the opposite. It seems to be polarizing our community in sort of a tribal fashion. I came to the conclusion that an order would be unlikely to change the opinion for those who seem set in their ways.”

Read the updated health orders and recommendations here.

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