CHEYENNE — Residents of Sweetwater County may now attend church services, visit local restaurants and bars, and work out at local gymasiums (with some restrictions) following the approval of two county variances by Wyoming State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist.
On May 6, Harrist signed two variances submitted by Sweetwater County last week, thus allowing churches, restaurants and bars to open to public gatherings under specific guidelines.
The first variance deals specifically with restaurants, cafes, bars, and gymnasiums. Some of the 21 restaurant guidelines found in that variance include:
- Tables will be limited to six patrons, preferably from the same household
- Tables must be 6-feet apart and customers must remain in their area
- Signage must be visible at all times reminding patrons from different groups to stand 6-feet apart
- Staff should wear face coverings at all time and perform hand hygiene between interactions with each table
- Customers must be handed utensils and napkins; no table is to be set beforehand
- Dedicated staff members must sanitize an occupied area once patrons have departed
- No self-serve or buffet options will be available unless food is prepackaged; no drink refills will allowed in the same container
- Employees must be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 or exposures to individuals with COVID-19 before every shift
There are five restrictions placed on gymnasiums, including group activities limited to nine people including instructors, and no sharing of equipment during activities.
The second variance deals with religious gatherings and has 10 provisions and six subprovisions. Some of those provisions include:
- Organizations should offer the option to view the service or meeting from home
- The number of people in a confined area at any time must be limited to allow for proper distancing among households
- Communion must be served in individual containers
- Reading materials, collection plates and communion trays must be passed out by staff rather than indiviudal attendees
Both signed variance can be viewed on the Wyoming Department of Health website. Harrist also ordered that Sweetwater County Public Health Officer Dr. Jean Stachon can grant exceptions to the variances on a case-by-case basis after evaluating the request and getting written approval from the WDH.
The variances will remain in place unless Stachon decides to revoke or modify them with the consent of Harrist’s office.