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Coronavirus count closes in on 400; Gordon announces some business openings

Compiled from Wyoming News Exchange newspapers

Also on Friday, hair salons and other companies providing personal services will be allowed to open if they limit the number of people in their buildings, accept customers by appointment only and keep customers six feet away from each other.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Wyoming grew by seven on Tuesday to total 396.

Meanwhile, Gov. Mark Gordon announced the state would let some businesses that provide personal services, such as hair salons and cosmetologists, open on Friday if they follow certain safety guidelines.

The Wyoming Department of Health, in its daily coronavirus update, said new coronavirus cases were detected Tuesday in Fremont, Laramie and Teton counties.

Fremont, the county hardest hit by the coronavirus, saw its confirmed case go up to 101.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Laramie County had 92 cases; Teton County had 65; Natrona had 39; Campbell had 14; Sheridan had 12; Converse and Johnson had 11; Sweetwater had 10; Albany had seven; Lincoln and Uinta had six; Crook and Washakie had five; Carbon had four, and Goshen had three. Big Horn, Hot Springs, Niobrara, Park and Sublette counties each had one case.

The number of laboratory-confirmed and “probable” recoveries went up by 19 on Tuesday to total 362. The number includes 260 laboratory-confirmed recoveries and 102 “probable” recoveries.

The updated numbers were released shortly before Gordon announced during a news conference that some of the public health orders restricting some businesses would be partially lifted on Friday.

Gordon and Dr. Alexia Harrist, the state’s health officer, in March issued public health orders closing schools, businesses likely to attract more than 10 customers, such as restaurants and gyms, and businesses providing personal services, such as hair salons and tattoo parlors.

Gordon said that as of Friday, gyms will be able to open if they limit the number of people inside their buildings, require the use of cloth face coverings and close locker rooms.

Also on Friday, hair salons and other companies providing personal services will be allowed to open if they limit the number of people in their buildings, accept customers by appointment only and keep customers six feet away from each other.

Restaurants and bars will remain closed for inside dining and an order prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people will remain in place until at least May 15, Gordon said.

He added that the process to lift all of the orders will be slow and methodical because state officials do not want to see a resurgence in the illness.

“This is a campaign,” he said. “A struggle against a virus, an insidious and invisible enemy. We do not want to surrender any of the ground that we have gained.”

In other developments:

School’s out: A growing number of school districts around the state are making the decision not to resume classroom education before the end of the school year. Gordon did not lift the order closing schools and although he said county officials could seek an exemption to that order, many school districts are opting to continue teaching their students at home. Officials with schools in Cheyenne, Casper and Afton have all decided not to open the doors of their buildings for students until at least the summer.

A little help: To help answer questions about Gordon’s phased approach to lifting public health orders, the Wyoming Business Council is holding a series of webinar meetings this week. The WBC is to hold two webinars a day through Friday when they will answer questions and address concerns raised by business owners in industries such as restaurants, gyms, fitness centers, tattoo shops, cosmetology and barber shops.

Park lodging: Grand Teton National Park officials, much like their counterparts at Yellowstone National Park, have announced that some of the park’s most iconic buildings will not be opening when the park reopens later this year. Grand Teton Lodge Co., which operates the park’s lodging facilities, said the Jenny Lake Lodge and Jackson Lake Lodge will not be open for the summer season.

Library giveaway: An anonymous donation to the Goshen County Library Foundation made it possible for the foundation to give away all of the items it was going to sell at its annual fundraiser. The donor bought all of the items to be sold at the fundraiser — including books, puzzles and games — so they could be given away to isolated families across the county. The library set up shop on a Torrington street on April 23 to hand out the materials.

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