Gov. Mark Gordon announced Monday that Wyoming hospitals are seeing record numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients and rising deaths, and further action must be taken to slow the spread of the disease.

Twenty-three new deaths were confirmed by the Wyoming Department of Health on Monday.

To slow the spread of the disease, the state will implement new restrictions about face coverings in certain indoor public settings, reducing group sizes and reducing hours of business when COVID-19 transmission is more like to occur.

However, counties can opt out of the requirements if local conditions move to safe levels in accordance with White House metrics.

“Our state and those surrounding us are facing a hospital capacity crisis that now compels us to take additional action," Gordon said in a news release.

"All through the fall, Wyoming has seen a rise in serious cases of COVID to a point where every county is facing critical and dangerous levels of spread of the virus," Gordon said. "Too many people have died."

“Science tells us limiting gatherings of groups and using face coverings are effective in slowing transmission of this virus. With these actions we can avoid taking the more drastic step of closing schools and businesses," he said.

The new requirements build on previous public health orders that began in March.

People now must wear face coverings in indoor covered spaces beginning Wednesday and expiring Jan. 8.

Besides the face-covering order, the Department of Health will issue these requirements:

  • Restaurants and bars will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for onsite consumption.
  • Groups of patrons seated together will be limited to six at bars, restaurants, theaters, concert halls and large events.
  • Group workout classes at gyms will be limited to 10 individuals.
  • Gatherings without required distancing will be limited to 10 individuals
  • Bars and restaurants may continue to provide takeout and delivery options during these hours, to the extent authorized by law.

Restaurants in travel centers and truck stops will not be ordered to close.

Tables and booths at restaurants and bars must be limited to groups of six (previously eight) but an exception may be made for groups larger than six if they are from the same household.

Likewise, groups of patrons seated together will be limited to six -- with exceptions for people from the same household --  at movie theaters, performance theaters, opera houses, concert halls, and music halls.

In gyms, the workout classes are now limited to 10 participants when that number was previously 25.

The new orders also limit gatherings without required social distancing to 10 individuals when the previous limit was 25.

Indoor events may allow more than 10 individuals but no more than 25% of venue capacity with a maximum of 100 people.

Outdoor events may allow more than 10 individuals but no more than 50% of venue capacity with a maximum of 250 people.

Groups seated together at any event must be limited to six, down from eight, but an exception may be made for groups larger than six if they are from the same household.

Participants in organized sporting events and artistic performances shall not congregate in groups larger than 12, down from 25.

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