The Wyoming Department of Health recently reported that significantly updated statewide public health orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic will go into effect Tuesday.

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Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon announced this week that the statewide mask mandate is ending, though the Wyoming Department of Health does recommend the continued use of face masks in indoor public places and when common-sense physical distancing cannot be maintained among people who don’t live in the same household.

“With fewer cases, hospitalizations and deaths at this point, our overall situation related to the pandemic is encouraging,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH. “But COVID-19 has not yet gone away so we need to act with caution and personal responsibility for a while longer to ensure progress in the right direction while our vaccination efforts continue.”

Harrist did note that mask use and other requirements related to schools are not changing.

“Keeping Wyoming’s students in classrooms remains a critical priority. It’s a setting where masks and other practices have clearly been effective,” she said.

But, as announced by Governor Gordon, restrictions are being lifted when it comes to restaurants, bars, gymnasiums and theaters.

Indoor school event requirements are being updated.

Additionally, limitations on personal gatherings and restrictions on outdoor events are being removed from public health orders as well.

Indoor events of more than 500 people may be held at 50 percent of venue capactiyy with certain face mask protocols for large indoor events. The 50-person limit in organized sporting events and artistic performances will be eliminated as well.

Many of these changes are a result of the vaccinations currently happening around Wyoming.

The Wyoming Department of Health reports that more than 127,000 people in Wyoming have received at least their first dose of the vaccine, when state and special federal counts are considered.

“The free, safe and effective vaccines we have available are being administered throughout the state and are helping us get past this pandemic and closer to ‘normal,’” Harrist said. “I encourage everyone to get vaccinated when it is their turn.”

In addition to vaccinations, it’s almost important to continue to get tested if symptoms of COVID-19 occur.

“Testing to identify COVID-19 infections is another important strategy to help ensure the pandemic doesn’t get away from us. We don’t want anyone with symptoms to hesitate to get tested,” Harrist said. “We’ve worked to support testing across the state and to add testing options.”

Wyoming offers free at-home COVID-19 testing. More information can be found at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiology-unit/disease/novel-coronavirus/covid-19-at-home-testing/.

The updated orders, which go into effect March 16, can be found online at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiology-unit/disease/novel-coronavirus/covid-19-orders-and-guidance/.

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While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.