The News Editorial: Time for personal responsibility
April 2, 2020
Two weeks ago life changed for many people and many business in Wyoming when Governor Mark Gordon and the state’s health officer issued orders closing schools (except distance learning options) businesses including museums, theaters, pools, bowling alleys, convention centers, personal services such as nail and hair salons and restaurants unless they could provide a plan on serving less than 10 people and providing social distancing or providing drive-thru, curbside delivery or home delivery.
Worland has seen some businesses close while the orders are in place – Washakie Twin Cinemas, Hurricane Lanes, Martinez Mexican Restaurant, Stogie Joe’s. Other places are closed due to the orders — Worland Community Center, Worland Aquatic Center, Washakie Museum & Cultural Center.
In addition to business closings any gathering with 10 or more people are prohibited, which has impacted church services, fundraisers and other events.
It has impacted schools as our local schools work on providing distance learning, at least through April 17. School events, not just sporting events, have been cancelled until further notice.
Some have called the governor to do more but in Monday’s press conference Governor Gordon addressed why he had not ordered a complete shutdown or a stay-at-home order. He said currently that is what the orders have done, with exceptions.
Recently the Town of Jackson issued a stay-at-home ordinance, but they too have a lengthy list of exemptions for essential businesses as long as proper social distancing of six feet is adhered to. Jackson’s order is not that unlike the orders in place by the governor and state health officer.
People must realize a stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order only works if there is enforcement. The governor said Monday that if he were to an issue a stay-at-home order there would NOT be multiple exemptions. He said last week in a press conference that if such an order was issued he was prepared to use law enforcement to enforce it.
Is that really what we want.
On Monday Governor Gordon and State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist both stressed the need for personal accountability. The only way we get through this is for EVERYONE to take it seriously. The Governor said Monday that he felt more people were taking it serious. He is probably right but we have witnessed some people still not understanding the purpose of social distancing. People not adhering to the six feet while in stores shopping for essentials. People from Wyoming rushing to Billings to Costco and we see pictures of long lines waiting with no one in line adhering to social distancing.
Some states are getting tough, such as Montana closing borders and requiring those entering the state to self-quarantine for 14 days.
In Wyoming we pride ourselves on our independent spirit. But with that independent spirit comes responsibility, a responsibility to yourself and to your neighbor. Staying at home when at all possible, exercising proper hygiene including hand washing and exercising proper social distancing protects yourself but also protects your loved ones, your neighbors and your fellow citizens.
When they say “We’re All In This Together” it is because we are all in this together and only together, looking out for one another, can we come out of this COVID-19 outbreak on to the other side.
President Trump has provided guidelines to the state’s allowing the counties to implement them as they deem necessary for their state. Initially Governor Gordon was leaving that up to the states, but when only a handful of counties issued closures and limited gatherings, the governor had to step in for the betterment of the entire state and issue the statewide orders that are now in place at least through April 17. Gordon noted Monday he and his administration are considering extending those through April to follow the federal guidelines.
So for now, let’s all work together, stay home when you can, practice social distancing when you are out in public, but limit your exposure to others.
If we each take responsibility for our actions and do what is asked, then we can all come out of this together.