Natrona County Commission Mandates Wearing Masks in County Buildings
Everybody, with a few exceptions, must wear a face covering when they enter most county buildings as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19, according to a resolution approved by the Natrona County Commission on Tuesday.
While public comment was not permitted, a former state representative and COVID-19 survivor said after the meeting that the commissioners should enact a county-wide mask mandate.
Commission Chairman Rob Hendry said during the meeting that the resolution is just one step. "We need to get back to social distancing, and washing our hands and using hand sanitizer and that kind of thing."
Commissioner Paul Bertoglio said he was concerned about one part of the resolution about the state law that requires county offices to remain open during regular business hours.
"We can't afford to have our staff to close an office simply because we have an outbreak," he said.
Commissioner Forrest Chadwick said he's received a lot of emails, with people by a margin of seven or eight to one supporting the resolution.
Hendry said about 20 people in the old courthouse are quarantined and the commission will need to close the building if the pace of infections doesn't stop.
After the commissioners unanimously approved the resolution, Hendry gaveled the meeting closed.
A resident asked if there would be any public comment, and Hendry said no because of the heckling that commissioners and health officials received at what was to be an informational meeting last week.
However, former state representative Ann Robinson spoke up, saying the resolution doesn't go far enough.
Natrona County should take the lead from Teton, Albany and Laramie counties and enact a county-wide mask mandate, Robinson said.
She and her husband are still recovering from the disease, and with her voice quavering, she said her grandniece died from it yesterday.
"This isn't about politics, you don't have to worry about losing your seat," Robinson said. "Just do what's right for the people and mandate masks."
She also referred to those who interrupted last week's meeting.
"Those people should have been arrested for disturbing the peace," Robinson said. "They are crazy."
The face-covering requirement applies to these buildings:
- The old courthouse.
- The Townsend Justice Center.
- The Road & Bridge and Parks Department.
- The Coroner's office.
- The Agricultural Resource and Learning Center.
The requirement also includes maintaining a social distance of six feet unless with family members. After people enter, individual offices in those buildings or courts may determine whether the face covering must remain in place.
Other places -- Sheriff's Office, Child Support Enforcement and the Fairgrounds -- may require people to wear a face covering.
The requirement does not apply to children under 2, those who have a medical condition, mental health condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering.
The resolution also does not apply to people who are hearing impaired where the ability to see the mouth is necessary for communication.
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