boomerang file

The corner of Third Street and Grand Avenue as seen from the roof of the Conner Building in downtown Laramie.

Bars and restaurants in Albany County can reopen immediately after state health officials approved a variance to Gov. Mark Gordon’s statewide closures.

The variance comes with a list of 21 rules each establishment that reopens must follow, including, but not limited to:

• Requiring all patrons to be seated at tables or booths

• Tables will be limited to parties of six

• Patrons must be seated at least 6 feet apart from guests at other tables

• Staff must wear masks and perform hand hygiene between interactions

• Staff should avoid touching items that have been placed on tables until the guests have left

• Buffets are not allowed

• Staff shall use gloves when handling ‘ready-to-eat foods’

• Employees must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before each shift

Under the governor’s orders, county health officers can request local variances that are more or less restrictive than what’s been prescribed by the state

Albany County Health Officer Jean Allais’s order notes that there has not been a confirmed positive case in Albany County since April 27 and that the overall test positivity rate for the county is 0.7%.

“Within the medical community of Albany County, the county has adequate testing capability and supply of PPE, and Ivinson Memorial Hospital has the capacity to care for patients within the hospital and ICU in the event of an increased incidence of positive cases,” the local order states.

However, Allais said in a press release that COVID-19 is “still incredibly dangerous.”

“Reopening Wyoming is a risk, but it’s also a risk if we don’t move forward. We’re on a dangerous road that has never been traveled before in Wyoming and the danger is that we relax and stop taking precautions,” Allais said. “All of us collectively control this. I ask you to take calculated risks and make good judgments. Continue social distancing, washing your hands, and wearing face coverings. These practices are especially important out of respect for others.”

By Friday, state officials had also approved the requests from Carbon, Converse, Johnson, Natrona and Sweetwater counties to allow restaurants and bars to seat customers inside if safety guidelines are followed. Natrona County had won permission on May 1 for customers to be served outside of restaurants and bars.

{p class=”gmail-p3”}{span class=”gmail-s1”}{span class=”gmail-s1”}Sweetwater County, Carbon and Johnson also won approval to allow churches to hold services as long as social distancing and other health safeguards are observed.{/span}{/span}

{p class=”gmail-p3”}{span class=”gmail-s1”}{span class=”gmail-s1”}Lincoln County, meanwhile, became the first to allow its movie theaters and bowling alleys to open under a variance approved Thursday. As with restaurants and churches, movie theaters and churches will have to follow a lengthy list of safety guidelines.{/span}{/span}

(5) comments

TheReplacement

The Rec Center has been cleared for a week and still hasn't opened. How to incent people being paid not to work is a dilemma.

Brett Glass

What an awful idea. The number of COVID-19 cases in Wyoming is still increasing and is nowhere near its peak; this will make the peak higher and sharper and will make it more likely that there will be a second shutdown in summer. Employees at these businesses, as well as their customers, will get sick and die. Needlessly.

TheReplacement

Well BG no one is forcing you to crawl out from under your bed and interact with humans. Leave that to the adults as we'll gladly take the .01% risk in return for some of our freedoms. You can remain in lockdown fear and maybe knit a cloth mask so you can virtue signal upon reappearance.

Brett Glass

Well, TheReplacement, perhaps you should crawl out from behind your pseudonym, instead of cowering behind it and spreading dangerous misinformation. I am continuing to run my essential business and to pay my employees, risking my life and my health so that others can protect themselves and the vulnerable during this crisis. What are YOU doing?

TheReplacement

Your fear mongering knows no bounds but everyone appreciates your virtue signaling.

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