Wyoming is one of eight states that have no stay-at-home order. With under 580,000 residents, the state is the least populated in the country. It has just 200 cases of the new disease, which is caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, and no deaths.
A stay-at-home order isn’t necessary, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said on Monday, because residents are already staying away from one another.
“People are staying at home,” Barrasso said during an appearance on Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom,” noting Gov. Mark Gordon announced a state of emergency last month and anyone entering the state is required to isolate for 14 days.
“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,” he added.
Gordon has struck the right balance, the senator argued, adding, “The people of Wyoming know what’s best in Wyoming. We’re going to do that—we’re going to continue to follow all the recommendations that are there in Wyoming.”
Teton County officials last week issued a stay at home order.
“It is recommended that all individuals, regardless of age … stay at home in their place of residence, or current place of abode,” the order stated. Exceptions mirror those in other orders, with people allowed to leave to get food, medicine, and for other purposes deemed essential.
Dr. Travis Riddell, Teton County’s health officer, told the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle that the order was more of a requirement than a suggestion.
Violators face a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.
Michael Pearlman, Gordon’s communication’s director, told the outlet that the governor has watched as nearby states issue stay-at-home orders.
“His concern is that a stay-at-home order, like we’ve seen in neighboring states that have pages of exemptions, does little to change people’s behavior,” Pearlman said. “The emphasis from our side is changing behavior right now.”
South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Utah are the other states without stay-at-home orders.
Each state has taken varying steps to respond to the pandemic, with some ordering the elderly or those with underlying health conditions to stay home. Many of the actions are similar to those taken in states with official stay at home orders, which are known by some as shelter in place orders.
President Donald Trump has been repeatedly pushed by reporters for a national stay-at-home order, despite a number of experts saying it would be unconstitutional. Both Trump and Surgeon General Jerome Adams have focused on constitutional issues in their responses. Another aspect Trump has highlighted is the vast differences between each state.
“In some states, “you have great distance” with “big land, few people” and “they’re in very good shape,” Trump told reporters on April 4.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, though, a top public health official on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, has said he doesn’t know why a national stay-at-home order hasn’t been done.
“I don’t understand why that’s not happening,” Fauci said last week. “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.”