EVANSTON — Uinta County officials asked for a county-wide variance recently from some of the public health orders due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and this was granted Wednesday around 11:30 a.m.
Wyoming State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist approved the variance Wednesday morning and Governor Mark Gordon signed the order around 11:30 a.m.
The order will allow several more businesses — including restaurants and bars — to open immediately, under certain guidelines. In addition, the variance allows for gatherings of not more that 20 people instead of 10 as was specified earlier.
The variance for Uinta County is posted on the Wyoming Department of Health website. The variance states the Uinta County’s has a positive test rate of 1.4 percent of the 502 tests that have been conducted, which is significantly less than the statewide positive rate of 4 percent. Additionally, the variance includes data on the acceptable and adequate availability of hospital and ICU beds, testing supplies and capabilities and personal protective equipment. These statistics were used in determining the variance could be granted.
The State Department also said the testing of 218 staff and patients at the hospital — about 61 percent of its population — was recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The testing was seen as a way to track how the illness might move through a population that shared common areas with a staff that moves in and out of the hospital.
As for high school graduations in Uinta County, Evanston has already set a graduation ceremony at the football field. Mountain View is considering the same. Lyman will host a ceremony in the LHS parking lot at 7 p.m. on May 28. It will be followed with a parade of the seniors through town. There will be a parade following the graduation ceremony. LHS Principal Todd Limoges said Thursday morning, “We are encouraging the community to congratulate the seniors along the parade route rather than attending the graduation in the parking lot.” He said the route and street names would be released prior to graduation.
The variance for Uinta County signed Wednesday states it can be revoked or modified by Uinta County Health Officer Dr. Mike Adams, with the direction and supervision of Harrist, at any time should conditions warrant it, and adds any violation of the variance may allow for criminal prosecution under Wyoming Statute.
For the Statewide Order No. 1, which closed bars, restaurants, theaters, gymnasiums, childcare facilities, K-12 schools, colleges, universities and trade schools, the variance allows restaurants and bars to reopen for on-premises food and beverage consumption as long as they adhere to the restrictions left in place. One item for the bars specified they must close at 10 p.m. and no bar games and dances are allowed. The variance also dictates how businesses must clean and sanitize the facility, tables, common areas touched by customers and more.
Statewide Order No. 2 is also amended to allow gatherings of up to 20 people, as opposed to the previous limitation of no more than 10. Religious organizations and funeral homes are allowed to conduct services as well, with a few continued restrictions.
The variance continues to require stringent cleanings and disinfectant of buildings and facilities within the buildings.