Flags ordered half-staff until May 24 (posted 5/22/2020)
in honor of the victims of the novel coronavirus pandemic
Governor Mark Gordon, pursuant to President Donald Trump's Proclamation, has ordered both the U.S. and State of Wyoming flags be flown at half-staff statewide until sunset on Sunday, May 24, 2020 in honor of the victims of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The Presidential Proclamation follows:
Our Nation mourns for every life lost to the coronavirus pandemic, and we share in the suffering of all those who endured pain and illness from the outbreak. Through our grief, America stands steadfast and united against the invisible enemy. May God be with the victims of this pandemic and bring aid and comfort to their families and friends. As a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the coronavirus pandemic, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, May 24, 2020. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred forty-fourth.
DONALD J. TRUMP
Flags to be flown at half-staff on Memorial Day May 25 (posted 5/22/2020)
US flag to be flown half-staff from sunrise to noon, then raised on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25th.
Flags lowered from sunrise through noon, then raised. 11AM is a National Prayer for Permanent Peace. 3PM is National Moment of Remembrance
Governor Mark Gordon, pursuant to President Donald Trump's Proclamation, has ordered both the U.S. and State of Wyoming flags be flown at half-staff statewide from sunrise through noon on Monday, May 25, 2020 in honor of Memorial Day and the President's proclamation of a day of prayer for permanent peace.
The Presidential Proclamation follows:
PRAYER FOR PEACE, MEMORIAL DAY, 2020
- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Since the first shots fired in the Revolutionary War, Americans have answered the call to duty and given their lives in service to our Nation and its sacred founding ideals. As we pay tribute to the lives and legacies of these patriots on Memorial Day, we also remember that they sacrificed to create a better, more peaceful future for our Nation and the world. We recommit to realizing that vision, honoring the service of so many who have placed love of country above all else.
As Americans, we will always defend our freedom and our liberty. When those principles are threatened, we will respond with uncompromising force and unparalleled vigor. Generation after generation, our country's finest have defended our Republic with honor and distinction. Memorials, monuments, and rows of white crosses and stars in places close to home like Arlington, Virginia and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, as well as far-flung battlefields in places like Flanders Field in Belgium and Busan in Korea, will forever memorialize their heroic actions, standing as solemn testaments to the price of freedom. We will never take for granted the blood shed by these gallant men and women, as we are forever indebted to them and their families.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Allied victories over Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War II. As we commemorate these seminal events, we also remember the tremendous cost at which these victories came. More than 400,000 souls of the Greatest Generation perished during this titanic struggle to liberate the world from tyranny. In his address to the Nation on Japan's surrender, President Truman's words remind us all of our enduring obligation to these patriots for their sacrifice: "It is our responsibility -- ours the living -- to see to it that this victory shall be a monument worthy of the dead who died to win it." As we pause to recall the lives lost from the ranks of our Armed Forces, we remain eternally grateful for the path they paved toward a world made freer from oppression.
Our fallen warriors gave their last breath for our country and our freedom. Today, let us pause in quiet reverence to reflect on the incredible dedication of these valiant men and women and their families, invoking divine Providence as we continue pursuing our noble goal of lasting peace for the world.
In honor and recognition of all of our fallen heroes, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 11, 1950, as amended (36 U.S.C. 116), has requested the President issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer. The Congress, by Public Law 106-579, has also designated 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as a time for all Americans to observe, in their own way, the National Moment of Remembrance.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 25, 2020, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time when people might unite in prayer.
I further ask all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day.
I also request the Governors of the United States and its Territories, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that, on Memorial Day, the flag be flown at half-staff until noon on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control. I also request the people of the United States to display the flag at half-staff from their homes for the customary forenoon period.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.
DONALD J. TRUMP
Yellowstone National Park reopening 60-90% of normal (posted 5/22/2020)
Graphic courtesy YNP
Mid-May 2020 stats
On Monday, May 18th, Yellowstone National Park began Phase 1 of their reopening plan. Only the east and south entrances in Wyoming were open. Montana and Idaho entrances are still closed. Visitation through the first three days of operations was 90% of normal through the East Entrance near Cody and approximately 60% of normal through the South Entrance near Jackson. It is estimated over the first three opening days (May 18-20, 2020), there was less than 20% of the normal traffic volume in the park compared to when all five entrances are typically open in mid-May before the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The park expects traffic and visitation levels to grow over the Memorial Day weekend.
Overall, the Old Faithful boardwalk was one of the busiest sections of the park in the first three days of operations. A mix of compliance and non-compliance with social distancing was observed by park staff. Most families and groups traveling together were not socially distanced, as would be expected. Clear separation between these groups was observed in many cases, but not all. Masks are not required but are highly recommended in the park especially when social distancing is not possible. Park staff observed limited use of masks in outdoor areas.
In a media release on May 21st, the National Park Service said their number one priority was to keep their employees safe by implementing creative mitigation measures and following CDC guidance. The park has spent approximately $136,000 on COVID-19 mitigation over the past weeks: nearly $30k for personal protective equipment (PPE) (N-95 masks, Tyvek suits, face shields, regular masks, and gloves); nearly $50k for new electrostatic disinfectant sprayers to more effectively and expeditiously clean restrooms and facilities; $20k for facial coverings and thermometers; $16k for visitor center and entrance station mitigation (plexiglass shields, stanchions, other); and nearly $20k for signage. The park has another $40k pending in backordered charges for additional PPE and mitigation equipment.
Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly said they have put substantial mitigation in place and their measures will continue evolving daily. "However, to visitors intending to visit Yellowstone: If you are not comfortable being in places where other visitors are not wearing masks, I suggest one of two things:
1) plan your visit for another time and don’t come to the park now; or
2) don’t put yourselves in situations where you’re around visitors who are not following health recommendations."
Sholly said park personnel expect the public to partner with them to protect each other. "While we are taking many actions to mitigate health concerns, including widespread messaging, signage, and direct public interface, the National Park Service in Yellowstone will not be actively telling citizens to spread out and put masks on, especially outdoors. While we recommend it, per CDC guidelines, primarily in areas where social distancing cannot be adhered to, we will not be enforcing the wearing of masks in outdoor areas. Once facilities begin to open, the park will evaluate more rigid guidelines on social distancing and facial coverings indoors."
The decision to reopen Yellowstone National Park and decisions on how to proceed forward with respect to the coronavirus pandemic are being made in close concert with state and local partners, including health officials, and with support from the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. Park officials will observe and make adjustments to their operations, whether to expand or contract services, as the COVID-19 public health situation unfolds over time.
Click here for the Yellowstone National Park Reopening Plan. (PDF)
Click here for the Yellowstone National Park May 13, 2020 news release regarding Phase 1.
Montana to begin their Phase Two starting June 1 (posted 5/22/2020)
Montana COVID-19 statistics as of Friday, May 22, 2020. Graphic courtesy State of Montana.
14-Day Travel quarantine will lift, businesses open with more capacity, bowling alleys can open
Governor Bullock announced that Montana will move into Phase Two of the Reopening Plan as of June 1st.
Guidance for Phase Two:
Restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, and casinos remain in the same operation status as Phase One, but will increase to 75% capacity.
Gyms, indoor fitness classes, pool, and hot tubs can operate at 75% capacity and only in strict physical distancing circumstances, with frequent sanitization practices.
Concert halls, bowling alleys, and other places of assembly may operate with reduced capacity.
The 14-day travel quarantine for out-of-state travelers for non-work related purposes will be lifted June 1st.
Montana National Guard will continue to conduct screenings in airports and train depots and refer anyone with COVID-19 related symptoms to local public health officials.
To support Montana’s destination communities, the state will assist with establishing the following protocols:
Surveillance testing of employees.
Enhanced contact tracing resources deployed to these areas as requested by local authorities.
Ability to surge personal protective equipment to impacted health care systems.
Guidelines for operation for business that see high-tourist activity.
Montana’s gradual and phased plan to reopen began on April 26 with Phase One which allowed schools, places of worship, main street and retail businesses, and restaurants, breweries, and bars to reopen under social distancing guidelines. Governor Bullock also provided additional guidance to allow gyms, movie theaters, and museums to reopen under the first phase on May 15.
To date, Montana has had 16 deaths due to the coronavirus, 479 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 437 recovered. They have tested 30, 524 people for the disease.
To read the full directive, click here.
Click here for the Montana COVID-19 Dashboard for updated COVID-19 statistics.
Washakie County resident dies from COVID-19 (posted 5/21/2020)
Wyoming Department of Health
A Washakie County resident previously identified as one of Wyoming’s laboratory-confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases has died, according to the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH).
The older man was a resident of a Washakie County long-term care facility identified earlier as experiencing COVID-19 outbreak. Testing has so far identified five cases among facility staff and six cases among residents.
There have now been 12 reported deaths, 608 lab-confirmed cases and 193 probable cases reported so far among Wyoming residents.
COVID-19 can be transmitted by infected people who don’t yet have symptoms. Disease symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after virus exposure and include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell.
For more information about COVID-19 from WDH, visit: https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiology-unit/disease/novel-coronavirus/.
Governor Gordon signs 3 bills from Special Session (posted 5/20/2020)
Governor Mark Gordon media release
CHEYENNE, WYOMING – Governor Mark Gordon has signed three pieces of legislation passed by the Wyoming Legislature that provide a framework for spending $1.25 billion in federal funding awarded to the State through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The bills were developed and passed during the Legislature’s special session held electronically on May 15-16.
Senate File 1001 gives the Governor further flexibility to spend the $1.25 billion in CARES Act funding through three allotments. It sets out $450 million immediately, an additional $400 million starting on July 15 and the remaining balance of $400 million beginning Sept. 15.
Senate File 1002 makes changes to the State’s unemployment insurance program and workers compensation program. It also creates an eviction prevention program that will be administered by the Wyoming Community Development Authority.
House Bill 1004 provides funding to establish three business-relief programs that will provide assistance to Wyoming companies impacted by COVID-19 and health orders. It allocates $50 million for the "Wyoming Business Interruption Stipend Program" to help businesses with 50 or fewer employees with grants of up to $50,000 dollars; $225 million for the "Coronavirus Business Relief Stipend Program" to assist businesses with up to 100 employees with stipends of up to $300,000; and $50 million for the "Coronavirus Mitigation Stipend Program" that will help Wyoming businesses of any size pay for COVID-19 related expenses up to $500,000.
The Governor exercised his line-item veto authority to address two elements of House Bill 1004. The first addresses the timing of the allocation of funds. Under the bill as written, the Legislature appropriated $325 million for these business relief programs, but required the entire appropriation be applied to the initial $450 million. This would limit the Governor’s flexibility to address other urgent needs prior to July 15.
The second line-item veto removes the $20,000 minimum amount that businesses would be eligible for under the Business Interruption Stipend Program. This better aligns the grant to the true need of the smallest businesses with minor losses.
Click on the links below to read the Governor’s veto letter and an additional letter addressing Senate Files 1001 and 1002.
• Considerations in signing SEA1 and SEA2.pdf
• Line Item Veto HEA0001 HB1004 COVID-19 business relief programs.pdf
Canada-Mexico border closure order extended for another month (posted 5/20/2020)
Due to COVID-19
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced they are amending and extending the public health order from March 20th that temporarily closed the U.S. border between Canada and Mexico for people coming into the U.S.
The order states that the "introduction of aliens, regardless of their country of origin, migrating through Canada and Mexico into the United States creates a serious danger of the introduction of COVID-19 into the United States, and the danger is so increased by the introduction of such aliens that a temporary suspension is necessary to protect the public health."
This amendment and extension goes into effect at 12:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on May 21, 2020 and is in effect until the CDC Director determines that the danger of further introduction of COVID-19 into the United States from covered aliens has ceased to be a serious danger to the public health, and the Order is no longer necessary to protect the public health.
The CDC will review the latest information regarding the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health risks every thirty days to ensure that the Order remains necessary to protect the public health.
Click on this link for more information.
Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame announces Class of 2020 Inductees (posted 5/19/2020)
Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame
Wyoming springtime marks the annual selection of the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame (WCHF) inductee class.
Nominations were accepted from Dec 2019 through Feb 28, 2020. Regional committees in ten different areas of Wyoming read, researched and scored over 70 nominations and sent the top 50 picks to the WCHF State Board of Directors.
WCHF State Board of Directors voted on those selections the first weekend of May, and voted 41 nominees into the 2020 WCHF Class of Inductees.
The induction ceremony will be at the Little America of Cheyenne, September 19-20, during the annual Wyoming Cowboy & Cowgirl Legacy Week.
Formed for exclusively historical, cultural, literary and educational purposes, WCHF's chief goal is "To preserve, promote, perpetuate, publish and document Wyoming’s working cowboy and ranching history through researching, profiling and honoring individuals who broke the first trails and introduced that culture to this state. WCHF plans to collect, display and preserve the stories, photos and artifacts of such individuals and anything else that will honor and highlight their contributions to our history."
WCHF Class of 2020:
Campbell County: Butch Reynolds, Aldin Reynolds
Crook County: Ed Cooper, Kenneth Canfield
Weston County: Francis Sedgwick, Jean Harshberger
Platte County: James "Jim" Wilson
Niobrara County: Fred & Clara Wilson, Donald Heckert, Pat Miller
Goshen County: Edward Johnson
Laramie County: Marie Belle, Russ Stinnette
Natrona County: Jim & Peggy Price, James Baker
Converse County: Fred Hageman, Teddy Pennington
Sheridan County: Archie Nash, Ralph Foster
Johnson County: Sue Jarrard, Raynard McKenzie
Bighorn County: Robert Good
Park County: Mel Stonehouse, Robert Earl Curtis, Dale M Sims
Carbon County: Ben Kern, Donald & Dorothy Kortes
Sweetwater County: Thomas Francis Pearson, Lige Driskell & George Finch
Fremont County: Tommy Jarrard, John Jack Darnell, Ronald Crawford
Uinta County: Don & Claudia Proffitt, Bertha Hamilton
Sublette County: Jep Richie, Buss Fear
Teton County: Chancy Wheeldon, Kenneth Griggs
Lincoln County: Stepp Family, Stan Murdock
Russell Pinky Walters
www.wyomingcowboyhalloffame.org Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame
Western WY Community College to hold virtual commencement June 27th (posted 5/19/2020)
Western Wyoming Community College
ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING – Western Wyoming Community College has received approval from local and state health officials for its first variance to allow students to complete their spring labs and hands-on curriculum in-person. Additionally, the College’s Commencement Ceremony will be virtual and interactive on June 27th, 2020.
Starting Monday, May 18th, students will have new safety protocols with guidelines for being on the Rock Springs campus. Western’s campus is still closed to the public until at least July 6th, 2020. There have been limited exceptions granted for students who need to live in the Residence Halls to complete the courses outlined in the first variance.
The new safety guidelines direct students and employees to enter the building through the main entrance only, and require face coverings. After entering, they must fill out a health form and have their temperatures recorded. While these guidelines can be challenging, the health and safety of students, employees, and community members is of utmost importance to the College.
In light of COVID-19 conditions, Western’s Commencement Ceremony will take place on Saturday, June 27th, 2020 at 1PM in both a virtual and interactive format. Students and their immediate families are invited to park on campus and tune in to Mustang Radio on 91.3 FM. Immediately following the ceremony, students, their families, and the community are encouraged to participate in the Mustang Stampede parade to cheer on the graduates. For those outside Sweetwater County, a virtual graduation video will be available for streaming.
Both the ALEKS and McCann tests are available online and seem to be working very well for prospective students. However, for students who do not have a computer or internet capabilities at home, the Green River Center (GRC) will be happy to schedule a time for the student to come to the GRC and take the test with the assistance of one of our proctors.
Some Workforce training will be allowed at the GRC and the Rock Springs campus from May 18 through July 5 and will be required to follow the same directives as the Rock Springs campus regarding temperature checks and face coverings.
"I am proud of the way our Western family has handled the COVID-19 crisis - especially our graduates. They have persevered in obtaining their degrees in such unprecedented circumstances. I hope the community can join together in celebrating these students’ hard work and grit at Commencement as they take the next steps into their unique journeys," stated Dr. Kim Dale, President of Western.
The College is in the process of building a Commencement page on their website with more information, which will be located on the homepage under "announcements".
For details regarding Commencement, email email@example.com.
For questions regarding variance protocols, contact Mustang Central at 800-226-1181 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions regarding Workforce and testing, please contact the GRC at (307) 872-0511.
2020 Census Field Operations resume in Wyoming (posted 5/19/2020)
Census workers to wear PPE
The U.S. Census Bureau is resuming 2020 Census field operations in Wyoming beginning May 18, 2020. For the health and safety of Census employees and the public, field staff will observe social distancing protocols and will wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
U.S. Census Bureau field employees will begin dropping off 2020 Census invitation packets at the front doors of households in areas that do not receive mail at their physical home address. This field operation follows current federal health and safety guidelines and does not require interaction between households and Census Bureau employees.
Households that receive the 2020 Census invitation packets are strongly encouraged to respond promptly – using the Census ID included in the questionnaire packet. Wyomingites can still respond online, by phone, or by completing and returning the paper form by mail. Responding online with the Census ID or completing and returning the paper questionnaire helps ensure an accurate count of Wyoming communities.
Everyone is encouraged to respond today online and help Wyoming increase the #2020Census self-response rate. The questionnaire only takes a couple of minutes to complete. Only one person needs to respond for each household. Go to 2020census.gov or call 1-844-330-2020 for more information and to respond.
Wyoming Legislature Special Session update (posted 5/18/2020)
Albert Sommers, House District #20 Representative
Hello Sublette County, this is Albert Sommers reporting to you at the end of the first Special Session of the Wyoming Legislature since 2004. Governor Gordon has called the Legislature into a Special Session to create programs and provide authority for the executive branch to utilize federal dollars granted to the State of Wyoming to relieve impacts caused by the COVID crisis. Congress granted the State of Wyoming $1.25 billion in the CARES Act.
The State of Wyoming, through the Governor and Legislature, has authority to spend money from the CARES Act dollars allotted to Wyoming, but it can spend only according to stringent federal guidance. By authority granted in the Wyoming Constitution, the Legislature has the "power of the purse," which means the legislature determines how money is spent, and when that authority can be granted to the Governor.
The Governor has authority in the Wyoming Constitution to call the Legislature into a Special Session, and if during a state emergency, the Special Session can be called in a location other than the seat of government, which is Cheyenne. Based upon this constitutional language, the Legislature determined that we can hold the Special Session through a virtual format, a big Zoom meeting. As Speaker Pro Tem of the Wyoming House of Representatives, I felt compelled to travel to the capitol to provide backup to the Speaker of the House during this Special Session. Whether a legislator traveled to the capitol or not, each member was on a virtual Zoom meeting sitting at a desk. There were only 18 or 19 House members at the capitol for the special session, while the rest of the members were participating from their home districts. During the session, only 16 members were seated on the floor of the House, in a spread-out arrangement, to comply with safe health practices. I participated from the Speaker Pro Tem office.
The Legislature addressed five bills in this Special Session, after passing special Joint Rules to allow for an expedited process to move bills faster between the bodies, and ultimately to get money faster to struggling people and businesses. The Legislature utilized the mirror bill process, which is how our budget bills are brought before the chambers each year. Four bills were brought to the Special Session by Management Council, after taking public comment and debating them prior to the session. A fifth bill was brought by an individual Senator, and although it passed the Senate, the House rejected the bill. The Legislature passed three bills during the Special Session to help local government, health care, workers and businesses with economic impacts resulting from the global pandemic.
Mirror bill HB/SF 1001 appropriates CARES Act funds to the Governor for COVID-19 related expenses, including: expenses incurred by state entities, the Judiciary, the Legislature and local governments; grants to Wyoming health care providers and health care facilities, authority to address food insecurity; funding for costs experienced by Wyoming businesses that were directed by the state to cease or limit business operations in response to the public health emergency caused by COVID-19; and for other COVID-19 related purposes defined in the bill. The bill releases the funds in three phases, and authorizes the Governor to establish temporary emergency programs to carry out the appropriations authorized by the Legislature.
Mirror bill HB/SF1002 addresses worker's compensation issues, by defining COVID-19 as an "injury" that can be compensated under the worker's compensation program and that the nature of all employment covered by the worker's compensation program is presumed to increase the risk of contracting COVID-19. This disease injury will not result in an increase in the employer’s premiums. Further, employers will get a Worker’s Compensation rate holiday through June 2021. This bill allows the Governor to declare that Unemployment Insurance benefits related to COVID-19 will not be charged to an employer's account. The bill authorizes the Department of Workforce Services and the Governor to enter into an agreement with federal Department of Labor for a Workshare Program, which provides benefits to employers who reduce their workforce hours but do not lay-off or terminate employees. The CARES Act pays 50 percent of the costs of these temporary programs. The bill appropriates $15 million for two new temporary programs for landlords, rent, security deposit, mortgage payments and hazard insurance assistance for residents. There was substantial debate around an amendment the Senate put on this bill that provided immunity to businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits. The House was concerned that the public did not have opportunity to comment on this immunity provision, when business immunity takes a basic constitutional right away from an individual. In the end, both bodies accepted an amendment to a current statute on immunity, to include limited immunity for business entities who in good faith follow the instructions of a state, city, town or county health officer.
Mirror bill HB/SF1004 creates three grant programs designed to provide financial relief to Wyoming businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and by state orders that closed businesses or resulted in business interruptions. The first grant program is designed to be a quick hitting $20,000 to $50,000 grant for business owners. The second is a larger stipend program with a maximum stipend of $300,000, but requiring documentation of expenses incurred and of how the stipend will be spent. The third program, titled the Coronavirus Mitigation Stipend Program, reimburses eligible businesses for COVID-related expenses (including sanitizing, protection and safety equipment, hiring additional employees, etc.). The maximum stipend in this program is $500,000. This bill obligates $225 million of the CARES act for business relief programs. Sublette County businesses need to stay tuned and keep in contact with the Sublette Chamber of Commerce and the Wyoming Business Council for program details as they roll out.
Mirror bill HB/SF1003 died in the House, after Senate amendments altered the bill beyond where the House was willing to go. Further, this bill was not an immediate need like the other three bills. The bill’s original intent was to provide school districts, state agencies, and the Governor more flexibility to manage budgets during this crisis.
Legislative leadership will likely reconvene the 2020 Special Session on June 29th, in order to address the next round of COVID related issues that will be examined by the Legislature’s standing committees in the next few weeks.
I can be reached at email@example.com.
Two March, April Coronavirus-related deaths added to Wyoming total (posted 5/18/2020)
Wyoming Department of Health
Deaths of two Wyoming residents that occurred in March and April have been added to Wyoming’s total count of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) deaths, according to the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH).
Both deaths occurred in Colorado and were reported very recently to Wyoming’s Vital Statistics Services Office, which is part of WDH. Neither had been included previously in Wyoming’s case count.
An older woman from Carbon County who had existing conditions that put her at higher risk of serious illness related to the virus died in late April. An older man from Laramie County also died in late March, but it is unclear whether he had higher risk-related conditions.
"When Wyoming residents pass away in another state from a disease such as COVID-19, it is a widely accepted practice to track those deaths based on the location of the person’s permanent residence," said Guy Beaudoin, deputy state registrar with WDH.
"In Wyoming, we have instructed medical certifiers such as attending physicians and coroners that COVID-19 should only be reported on death certificates when the disease caused or contributed to a person’s death," he said. "So if someone who happens to be positive for COVID-19 died due to an automobile accident, their passing would not be counted as a coronavirus-related death."
Deaths associated with COVID-19 are being counted by WDH in the same manner as influenza-related deaths have long been reported in Wyoming with a focus on death certificate information.
Beaudoin noted it is not unexpected to experience delays in receiving information from other states. "Within Wyoming, we are working closely with hospitals and coroners and are able to receive information much more quickly," he said.
There are now 10 deaths, 577 lab-confirmed cases and 189 probable cases reported for Wyoming during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information about COVID-19 from WDH, visit: https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiology-unit/disease/novel-coronavirus/.
Fremont County has 1 more COVID-19 death (posted 5/18/2020)
Wyoming Department of Health
A Fremont County resident previously identified as one of Wyoming’s laboratory-confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases has died, according to the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH).
The newly confirmed death involves an older hospitalized woman who had existing conditions that put her at higher risk of serious illness related to the virus. There have now been 8 reported deaths, 559 lab-confirmed cases and 182 probable cases reported so far from across Wyoming.
WDH recommendations to help slow the spread of illness include:
• Follow current public health orders.
• Stay home when sick and avoid contact with other people unless you need medical attention.
• Follow common-sense steps such as washing your hands often and well; covering your coughs and sneezes; and cleaning and disinfecting.
• Wear cloth face coverings in public setting where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
• Older people and those with health conditions that mean they have a higher chance of getting seriously ill should avoid close-contact situations.
Disease symptoms, which may appear 2 to 14 days after virus exposure, include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell.
For more information about COVID-19 from WDH, visit: https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiology-unit/disease/novel-coronavirus/.
Yellowstone National Park begins phased reopening May 18 (posted 5/14/2020)
No lodging or overnight camping, no dining, no commercial tour buses in beginning phases
National Park Service
MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WYOMING - Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Yellowstone National Park will reopen on a limited basis on May 18. The park has been closed to visitors since March 24, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It was great to welcome Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence to Yellowstone National Park and First Lady Melania Trump to Grand Teton National Park last year. These are incredible places that are special to the American public. I appreciate Superintendent Cam Sholly and Acting Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail for working with Governor Gordon and health officials to make the parks accessible to the public," said Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt.
Yellowstone has outlined a three-phased plan that initially opens the South and East entrances of Wyoming and limits visitor travel to the lower loop of the park. The lower loop allows visitors to access Lake, Canyon, Norris, Old Faithful, West Thumb, and Grant Village.
Wyoming has lifted out-of-state travel restrictions and has requested the state’s entrances open the week of May 18. Montana and Idaho continue to have out-of-state restrictions in place and the park is working closely with these states and counties to open the remaining three entrances as soon as possible.
"I want to thank Yellowstone Superintendent Sholly for his thoughtful communication with all interested parties about the park’s plan for reopening," Governor Gordon said. "This measured approach will help protect employees, visitors, and neighboring communities. It will also give us useful experience as we look ahead to opening other areas of the park, provide a boost to Wyoming’s tourism industry, and help get America’s economy up and going again."
This limited opening approach will accomplish three objectives in the short term: 1) allow the park to continue buffering with states that are maintaining restrictions; 2) help the park and internal business partners improve and refine mitigation actions with lighter levels of visitation; and 3) allow for an assessment of how returning visitors affect COVID-19 curves within surrounding Wyoming counties.
The park’s reopening priorities center on protecting employees and the public from transmission risks through a variety of mitigation actions consistent with local, state, and federal guidance. The park will actively monitor changing conditions (in the park and in surrounding counties); and will maintain flexibility to expand, adjust, or contract operations as conditions warrant.
"The park’s goal is to open safely and conservatively, ensure we take the right actions to reduce risks to our employees and visitors, and help local economies begin to recover," said Superintendent Cam Sholly. "I appreciate the cooperation we’ve had with our surrounding governors, counties, communities, and health officials in working through these challenging decisions. Our goal is to get the remaining entrances open as quickly and safely as possible."
The park has developed a range of mitigation actions that include: providing protective barriers where needed, encouraging the use of masks or facial coverings in high-density areas, metering visitor access in certain locations, increasing cleaning frequency of facilities, adding signage on boardwalks and other public spaces, and messaging to visitors through a variety of methods.
What will be open beginning May 18?
• Phase 1 will begin on Monday, May 18 at 12:00 p.m. with the opening of the South and East entrances in the state of Wyoming.
• Visitors will be able to access the lower loop of the Grand Loop Road (see attached map) coming in and out of the South and East entrances only.
• Visitors will be able to access restrooms, self-service gas stations, trails and boardwalks, and other Phase 1 facilities that are prepared to open.
What will remain closed until later phases of the plan?
• The Montana entrances (North, West, and Northeast) will remain closed. The park is consulting with the Governor of Montana to establish reopening dates for the Montana entrances.
• Commercial tour buses will not be allowed in the early phases of opening.
• Overnight accommodations will be unavailable until later in the season.
• Campgrounds, backcountry permits, visitor cabins, additional stores, expanded tours, takeout food service, boating, fishing, and visitor centers will remain closed. These Phase 2 services and/or facilities will open when safe and appropriate mitigation measures are in place. This will happen at different times.
• Hotels, full-service dining, commercial tour buses, and ranger programs will remain closed. These Phase 3 services and/or facilities will reopen when health conditions allow.
Visitors should come prepared and follow all CDC and local health guidance by practicing good hygiene and social distancing. Face coverings are recommended where social distancing is not possible. People who are sick should stay home and not visit the park. The CDC has provided specific guidance on visiting parks and recreational facilities.
"I’m asking the public to partner with us to prevent the spread of COVID-19," said Superintendent Cam Sholly. "Visitors can protect their family and friends by skipping areas that are too crowded and always maintaining social distance from other people, including rangers. The National Park Service can’t do this alone and will continue to work with all stakeholders to best protect the public and our employees."
Previously-scheduled road construction projects will continue this summer.
Normal annual bear management area closures will be in effect. Many areas of the park are still experiencing winter conditions. The park will provide details and updates for operations as they change on http://www.nps.gov/yell and on the park’s social media channels.
Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.
Grand Teton National Park partially reopens May 18 (posted 5/14/2020)
Visitor Centers, lodging, campgrounds remain closed initially
National Park Service
MOOSE, WYOMING - Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Grand Teton National Park is increasing recreational access and some limited visitor services.
The National Park Service is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.
"It was great to welcome Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence to Yellowstone National Park and First Lady Melania Trump to Grand Teton National Park last year. These are incredible places that are special to the American public. I appreciate Superintendent Sholly and Acting Superintendent Noojibail for working with Governor Gordon and health officials to make the parks accessible to the public," said Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt.
Beginning Monday, May 18, Grand Teton National Park will have recreational access with limited services available to the public, including;
• Primary road access (Teton Park Road, Moose-Wilson Road and North Park Road)
• Public restrooms in some areas
• Day-use hiking on seasonally-accessible trails
• Riverbank and lakeshore fishing
• Multi-use pathway system (where free from snow)
• Several viewpoints continue to be accessible along US Highway 89/26/191
With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed or services are unavailable at this time;
• Park visitor centers
• Overnight lodging
• Food service
• Boating/floating on river and lakes
• Backcountry permits
• Special-use permits
It is anticipated that expanded recreational access and visitor services will be available as the park continues with a phased opening approach, conditions permitting.
"I appreciate the willingness of Acting Superintendent Noojibail to engage with state and Teton County officials to develop a reopening plan that provides access to one of the most iconic parks anywhere," Governor Gordon said. "This plan is designed to protect employees, visitors and community members. Spring in Teton County would just not be the same without the opportunity to appreciate Grand Teton National Park up close."
"I appreciate the strong working relationship the park enjoys with our local and state partners," said Grand Teton National Park Acting Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail. "Their input has helped inform the park's phased reopening plan, which provides recreational access to the park in a manner that promotes the health and safety of our employees, volunteers, partners and visitors. We ask all park visitors to do their part to take preventive actions as they enjoy the park by maintaining social distancing and following all CDC and local health guidance."
The park is implementing a number of preventive measures to reduce the spread of infectious disease, including prioritizing the hiring of seasonal custodial workers and increased contracted services for cleaning and disinfecting high use areas, and the use of plexiglass panels in locations of high visitor/public interaction such as entrance stations, visitor centers, and permit desks, and providing visitor guidance.
Grand Teton National Park will examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance and will be regularly monitored. The park continues to work closely with the National Park Service Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.
When recreating, the public should follow local area health guidance, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.
The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. All park functions will continue to be monitored to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.
Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on the park's website at www.nps.gov/grte/index.htm and the park's Facebook and Twitter pages. Updates about National Park Service operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.
Grand Teton Music Festival cancelled for 2020 (posted 5/14/2020)
2020 Grand Targhee Fest and Bluegrass Festival also cancelled
Organizers have announced the cancellation of the 2020 Grand Teton Music Festival summer programming which had performers scheduled from early July through the end of August in Jackson Hole because of COVID-19 concerns. They will instead offer a "Music from the Mountains," an online version sometime in mid-August.
Grand Targhee Resort has cancelled their Targhee Fest, scheduled for July 10-12, as well as their Bluegrass Festival which was scheduled for August 14-16, due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
Click on this link for more on this story: Grand Teton Music Festival, Targhee Fest both off for 2020 buckrail.com, May 13, 2020
Funds allocated for Wyoming businesses to receive PPE (posted 5/14/2020)
State puts $2 million towards Personal Protection Equipment
Governor Gordon media release
Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon has allocated $2 million to the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security to purchase and distribute Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to non-health care related entities. This effort will support public safety for businesses and communities across the state under the new health orders.
WOHS will be working with the Wyoming Business Council to assess the specific needs as restrictions are eased. Needs of businesses will be assessed in future communications with WOHS and the Business Council.
"We are happy to help our Wyoming businesses as we move forward in easing restrictions," Director Lynn Budd, Wyoming Office of Homeland Security said. "Ensuring our communities have the essential needs to navigate this process is important to our state’s recovery.
Information will be available on the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security website at hls.wyo.gov and questions may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated Wyoming health orders go into effect May 15th (posted 5/13/2020)
New orders in effect through May 31st
Governor Mark Gordon media release
Governor Mark Gordon has announced that updated public health orders effective May 15 will ease restrictions on several business categories and permit restaurants to resume indoor table service statewide. The Governor has also allocated $17 million in federal funding to expand COVID-19 testing, improve contact tracing and add to the state’s supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).
"We have been working diligently to modify our public health orders to continue a safe and sensible reawakening of Wyoming’s economy," Governor Gordon said. "I am also pleased to be directing funds available through the CARES Act to improve our ability to identify cases of COVID-19 and limit public exposure to the virus."
The modified orders allow restaurants to offer indoor and outdoor dining service under specific conditions intended to limit the potential spread of COVID-19. These include adequate spacing of tables, a requirement that staff wear face coverings and be screened for symptoms of COVID-19, as well as the implementation of increased sanitation measures. The Wyoming Business Council will host a webinar on Thursday, May 14, to provide information and guidance for restaurant industry businesses eligible for expanding operations under the new orders.
The further easing of orders expands the public gathering limit and permits larger gatherings for churches, religious organizations and funeral homes as long as they implement social distancing measures and specific sanitization procedures.
Movie theaters and performance venues will also be allowed to reopen in a limited capacity and permit public gatherings of up to 25 persons. Gyms may now open locker rooms, offer personal training and provide group classes for up to 20 participants. Childcare centers will be permitted to have up to 25 persons total in a classroom.
"We must continue to be vigilant about social distancing," Governor Gordon said. "I am confident that the public and business community will continue to recognize that their actions will allow us to continue a safe, steady path forward. It is important to remember that even as we ease restrictions, COVID-19 is still with us and will continue to be present in Wyoming for some time."
The $15 million Governor Gordon has allocated to the Wyoming Department of Health will help the agency increase its diagnostic testing and contact tracing capabilities. Funds will be used to bolster testing capacity at the Public Health Laboratory, obtain additional testing supplies and provide additional support to the team that does contact tracing, that includes people in communities across the state.
The Governor has also allocated $2 million to the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security, who will be working with the Wyoming Business Council to purchase Personal Protective Equipment and distribute it to non-health care related entities to support public safety for businesses and other entities across the state under the new health orders.
Click on the links below for the updated orders:
Statewide Public Health Order Continuation and Update on Public Spaces May 13, 2020
Statewide Public Health Order Continuation and Update on Gatherings May 13, 2020
Statewide Public Health Order Continuation and Update on Personal Services May 13, 2020
2020 Election Cycle begins (posted 5/13/2020)
Candidate filing period is May 14 to May 29th
Wyoming Secretary of State Office
The Secretary of State’s Office announced today (Wednesday, May 13, 2020) the beginning of the election cycle in Wyoming. This cycle starts with the 2020 Candidate Filing Period and the launching of an ongoing campaign, "VoteSafely Wyoming," to inform voters on their options for casting a ballot in 2020 during the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.
This week marks the beginning of the election season with the start of the candidate filing period on Thursday, May 14th. The filing period will end on Friday, May 29th at 5:00 p.m. MDT.
All Republican and Democratic candidates for the office of U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, Wyoming State Senator, and Wyoming State Representative must file with the Secretary of State’s Election Division in order to stand for election in the 2020 Primary Election which will take place on Tuesday, August 18th. Candidates for county and municipal offices must file with their local office.
"I truly hope that even though the times are uncertain, that many Wyoming citizens will feel called to serve our state and file to run for office," said Secretary of State Edward Buchanan.
Candidates filing for office with the Secretary of State’s Office are encouraged to file on the Statewide Candidate Filing webpage. Once the filing period begins on Thursday, a list of candidates who have filed to run for office will be posted daily by 5:00 PM and will be available from the Secretary of State’s website. Other election information may also be found on the Office’s Election Center web page.
"Due to concerns related to COVID-19, I want to remind every voter that you have a choice on how you vote in the 2020 Elections. Voters can choose to vote in person at a polling place or send an absentee ballot request to their county clerk. Voters should make the choice that works best for them during these unprecedented times," said Secretary Buchanan. "Just as in all elections in Wyoming, voters will be given options and ways to vote that are safe. My office will continue to respond to this developing situation and act to protect the health and safety of all voters while maintaining the security and integrity of the election."
The Secretary of State’s Office is reminding registered voters to watch their mail for election information from the Secretary of State’s Office that will arrive this month. This mailer outlines voting options for both the 2020 Primary Election and 2020 General Election as well as contact information for each county clerk. Anyone who has questions about voting in 2020 should visit the Secretary of State’s website or contact their local county clerk's office for more information.
"Even as concerns over COVID-19 continue, we are encouraging candidates to file and voters to cast their ballot. We are working hard to ensure we have a great election season," said State Election Director Kai Schon.
May 2020 Wyoming Water Supply Outlook (posted 5/9/2020)
Graphic courtesy National Weather Service
National Weather Service
- Wyoming April 2020 precipitation was 75 to 85 percent of average.
- Current water year precipitation is averaging 90 to 100 percent of normal across Wyoming.
- Early May mountain snowpack across Wyoming is 85 to 95 percent of median.
- Near normal (90 to 105 percent) snowmelt streamflow volumes are still expected across several major basins in Wyoming.
- Wyoming reservoirs continue to average 75 to 85 percent of capacity in early May.
April 2020 precipitation totals across Wyoming were 75 to 85 percent of average. Precipitation numbers varied between 135 percent of normal over the Snake River Basin (far western Wyoming) to 60 to 65 percent of average over the Powder and Belle Fourche Drainages (northeastern Wyoming). Current water year (October 2019 - April 2020) precipitation across Wyoming was 90 to 100 percent of average.
Mountain snowpack across Wyoming was 85 to 95 percent of median by early May. Snowpack "water" numbers and/or SWEs were the highest across basins in northwestern Wyoming—varying between 105 to 115 percent of median. SWEs across basins in south central through southwestern Wyoming (Sweetwater, Upper Bear, and Lower Green Basins) were below 85 percent of median.
Near normal (95 to 105 percent) snowmelt streamflow volumes are still expected across several major basins in Wyoming. Above average snowmelt streamflow volumes are expected across portions of the Laramie, Upper North Platte, Shoshone, and Snake River Watersheds. The Sweetwater and Upper Green Basins as well as portions of the Little Wind River Drainage are still forecasted to have below normal streamflow volumes during the upcoming snowmelt season.
Wyoming reservoirs are averaging 75 to 85 percent of capacity in early May. Reservoir storages across Wyoming remained above average at 105 to 115 percent for May.
Other hydrological information for Wyoming can be found at the NOAA hydrology website:
Monthly Wyoming Hydrologic Summary and Graphics:
(updated monthly around the 15th of every month)
Wyoming Drought Information Page:
(updated at least once a month)
Wyoming Graphical Water Supply Outlook:
(updated by the 10th of every month—January-June)
Wyoming Average Precipitation by Basin:
Wyoming Spring Snowmelt Runoff Flood Potential Graphic:
(updated around the 20th of the month---February-April—sometimes May)
Current and Forecast Wyoming Streamflows and/or River Stages:
Firewood permits available on BTNF (posted 5/7/2020)
Bridger –Teton National Forest
Bridger-Teton National Forest will start selling firewood permits for personal use beginning May 15, 2020. District offices will conduct business by phone and issue permits by mail to interested individuals for a price of seven dollars per cord with a five cord minimum purchase. Permits valid for the calendar year only. Permits must be in possession while collecting forest products, with load tickets visible at the time of transport.
Additionally, the Forest will offer permits for other forest products. Transplant permits will be available starting May 8, 2020, and post & pole permits will be available beginning May 15, 2020.
To keep the public and our employees safe, we encourage you to call your local district office to obtain any of these permits for the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Please note that voicemails are checked frequently during regular business hours and you will receive a call back by the next available business day. We are encouraging payment by credit card and the permit will be mailed to you the following business day. Please plan ahead, allowing time to receive your permit by mail prior to collecting forest products.
Contact information for the Bridger-Teton National Forest offices is as follows:
Kemmerer Ranger District - (307) 877-5100
Big Piney Ranger District - (307) 276-5800
Greys River Ranger District - (307) 885-5300
Blackrock Ranger District- (307) 543-3900
Pinedale Ranger District (307) 367-4326
Jackson Ranger District – 307-739-5400
When gathering firewood, permits allow for the harvest of down or standing dead wood only and it is important to use firewood from local sources to prevent the spread of invasive species.
A standard cord is 8 feet long, 4 feet wide and 4 feet high, measuring 128 cubic feet when wood is stacked in a row. Make sure to cut firewood only where the permit allows, as other neighboring Forests might have different firewood cutting regulations and price. Locations where forest product collection is not allowed include wilderness areas, campgrounds, picnic areas, resorts, recreation management areas, wilderness study areas, administrative sites, and timber sales. Maps of legal routes to access wood cutting locations will be available where permits are sold and on the Forest website. Forest visitors are advised to check in with their local ranger stations regarding area road and trail information.
National Forests across the nation have been providing a substantial amount of firewood for the public since the 1970’s, which has continued to grow as more households in America are adopting practices to reduce energy and fossil fuel consumption. Selling firewood permits also aids in fire prevention by removing burnable material from the forest floor.
For more information about Forest regulations or the products available for sale visit our website www.fs.usda.gov/main/btnf/passes-permits/forestproducts or call our office at (307) 739-5500.