Two weeks ago, SweetwaterNOW put out a reader poll on our Facebook page asking our readers their thoughts regarding mask requirements 😷 for county and other government buildings.
Over 5,300 people responded to the poll, with 57 percent (3,000+ votes) favoring no masks and 43 percent (2,200+ votes) in support of masks.
Discussion amongst the Sweetwater County Board of Commissioners on a resolution that would require the public and county employees to wear masks in county buildings during their July 7 meeting sparked our idea for the poll. During that discussion, the commissioners determined that they could not require face masks, feeling they would be infringing on individual rights. The commissioners were scheduled to revisit the resolution during the July 21 meeting, however, no discussion took place during that meeting.
Strong Opinions for Both Sides
Clearly there’s a split on a local level between those who support and those who do not support mask requirements. Several of our readers contributed some useful and thought provoking ideas on both sides, and we figured sharing a few of those ideas with you will at least provide some perspective.
Most comments from those who opposed masks often correlated their opinion with their own rights to make a conscious decision for their own health, while respecting the same freedom for others to choose for themselves. Camie Wamsley and Chadd France summed up the no mask vote with these two comments.
Those who voiced their support for the idea of mandated masks typically referred to protection, respect and helping to control the spread of the virus. Tina Haapala and Isabeau Hills shared some insight and personal reasoning for their support of mask wearing.
Since the initial early consideration for mask requirements by the commissioners, other entities have now implemented their own policies. Over the last week, major retail stores like Wal-Mart, Smith’s, Walgreens and Albertsons now require their customers to wear masks.
In addition, Teton County just recently passed a mandated mask order for all commercial and retail businesses in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
As schools continue to plan to reopen in the fall, masks are also being considered. In some school districts like Sweetwater County School District No. 2, masks are required when social distancing cannot be practiced.
On a statewide level, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon has stressed the importance of mask wearing and has recommended that all Wyoming residents “mask up.”
Though our poll shows that opinions are divided regarding masks, it does appear that the trend to require masks in public areas is beginning to spread across the state.
THE LATEST COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS NEWS & INFO FROM THE WYOMING DEPT. OF HEALTH
What to do if you feel sick: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and are showing symptoms, please call your primary care provider or seek medical attention.
Please follow these tips to slow the spread of this virus:
- Follow Public Health Orders
- Practice social distancing of 6 feet or more.
- Wear cloth face coverings in public settings, especially when physical distancing of at least 6 feet isn’t available.
- Stay home when sick and avoid other people unless you need medical attention.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Older people and those with health conditions that mean they have a higher chance of getting seriously ill should avoid close-contact situations.
- Long-term care and healthcare facilities should follow guidelines for infection control and prevention.
For current news, updates, closures and resources, please visit our COVID-19 Coronavirus page here.