Sweetwater EOC launces exception request process for businesses to reopen on a limited basis



SWEETWATER COUNTY, WYOMING (May 4, 2020) — The Sweetwater County COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center (EOC) today announced its launch of an exception request process for local businesses that wish to petition the state for permission to reopen their doors to customers on a limited basis as the state carefully continues to move forward in softening COVID-19 restrictions.

In State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist’s third continuation and modification of Wyoming’s three statewide public health orders, executed on Tues., April 28 and effective as of Fri., May 1, local business owners may now file a written request for specific exemption to the remaining provisions of the state health orders.

In their exemption request, the service provider must present a COVID-19-specific operating plan that includes the implementation and maintenance of the proper physical distancing, cleaning, sanitation and other public health and safety measures necessary to prevent the spread of the virus at their establishment.

If the exemption request is approved by County Health Officer Dr. Jean Stachon and State Health Officer Dr. Harrist, that business may then reopen its doors and begin operating on a limited basis in accordance with the approved operating plan.

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In coordination with Dr. Stachon and Public Health Director Kim Lionberger, local business owners who are interested in submitting an exemption request can find the form (with instructions) online at sweetwater311.org.

According to Dr. Stachon, “In addition to specific exemptions, as part of these latest modified health orders, state officials have now also given counties the authority to consider more or less restrictive measures based on their own local health data and their ability to handle any increases in COVID-19 cases should they occur. We have drafted two variances addressing restaurants, bars, coffee shops, churches and other worship services, and funerals. We plan to finalize these variances by the close of business on Tues., May 5 and submit them to the state for consideration.”

“We are so far fortunate to have been spared the brunt of the disease in Wyoming here in Sweetwater County,” said Sweetwater County EOC and Chairman of the Sweetwater County Board of County Commissioners. “I’d like to attribute this, at least in part, to the great work we have done together as friends and neighbors in all doing our part to respect proper social distancing and follow current health recommendations.”

Wendling continued, “While we have a continued obligation to make sure our citizens are safe and healthy, we also have a responsibility to start thinking about how to save our small businesses and restore our local economy. We have reviewed the state’s guidelines, and as the metrics they’ve identified suggest that our numbers here in Sweetwater County may be stabilizing, we are now working on a variety of different things, cautiously, safely and in a measured and systematic way, to get people back to work and reopen our doors to the greatest extent currently possible.”

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