Wyoming And Utah Among States Resisting Stay-At-Home Orders

Apr 7, 2020
Originally published on April 7, 2020 4:42 pm

Most states have issued stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19. Wyoming and Utah are two of the very few remaining without statewide orders.

Christine Porter, a public health professor at the University of Wyoming and the Wyoming Excellence Chair in Community and Public Health, said not mandating state-wide stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders has serious repercussions.

"As you and I are talking on the phone, people are going out who would otherwise not go out because we don't have the shelter-in-place order and they are spreading the virus and it will spread exponentially," Porter said. "It might not look like that many [cases] right now, but look at any chart of anywhere else where it has started to spread and see where we are headed."

On Monday, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso said a stay-at-home order is unnecessary in the Cowboy State because social distancing is already occurring.

"We do have a state of emergency in Wyoming. Anyone coming into our state, there is a 14-day quarantine. People are staying at home," Barrasso said on Fox News on Monday. "But remember that people are spread out here. We only have about five people per square mile. We have been socially distancing the entire 130 years that we have been a state."

Some local governments and agencies have taken things into their own hands. For example, the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming currently has a stay-at-home order, as does Salt Lake County in Utah.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has endorsed a nationwide stay-at-home order. "If you look at what's going on in this country, I just don't understand why we're not doing that. We really should be," he told CNN last week.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Maggie Mullen, at mmullen5@uwyo.edu.

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