Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon announced an end to numerous lockdown measures on Monday, including a state-wide mask mandate.
Gordon, a Republican, said that the mask mandate would be lifted and businesses such as restaurants, movie theaters, bars, and gyms would be allowed to open at full capacity on March 16. Gordon’s announcement follows similar moves made by Texas and Mississippi almost a year after such measures were put in place.
Notably, Gordon is still leaving some pandemic measures in place, such as a mask mandate on all elementary through high schools, according to CNN. Gordon touted the state’s vaccination efforts for his decision to lift regulations.
“I thank the people of Wyoming for their commitment to keeping one another safe throughout this pandemic,” Gordon said in a press release. “It is through their efforts that we have kept our schools and businesses operating and our economy moving forward. I ask all Wyoming citizens to continue to take personal responsibility for their actions and stay diligent as we look ahead to the warmer months and to the safe resumption of our traditional spring and summer activities.”
Gordon urged “Wyomingites to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces and to follow the best practices adopted by any business they visit to slow the spread of the virus.”
“Wyoming is one of the few states in the country that kept students learning in the classroom for the entire school year. We made sacrifices, but the earlier orders saved lives. We persevered,” Gordon continued. “With this approach we can have graduations, proms and a great end to the school year by keeping schools open. Especially since our children will not have the chance to be vaccinated this spring.”
A handful of states have begun substantial rollbacks of heavy-handed lockdown regulations. A number of other states, such as Florida and South Dakota, never had statewide mask mandates in the first place.
President Joe Biden recently mocked states that are lifting lockdown measures and mask mandates as exhibiting “Neanderthal thinking.”
“I think it’s a big mistake. Look, I hope everybody has realized by now these masks make a difference,” Biden said last week when asked about states reopening. “We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way … we are able to get vaccines in people’s arms. We’ve been able to move that all the way up to the end of May to have enough for every adult American to get a shot.”
“The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything is fine, take off your mask, forget it. It still matters,” he continued. “As of yesterday, we have lost 511,874 Americans. We’re going to lose thousands more.”
“We will not have everybody vaccinated until sometime in the summer. We have the vaccine to do it; getting a shot in someone’s arm and [giving] them a second shot,” he concluded. “It’s critical – critical, critical, critical – that they follow the science. Wash your hands, hot water, do it frequently. Wear a mask and stay socially distanced. And I know you all know that. I wish the heck, some of our elected officials knew it.”