Masked elk sculpture

Even the elk are wearing masks in Jackson.

Recognizing that wearing face masks could allow the valley to avoid closing businesses again, the Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board is promoting the use of face coverings.

“When you’re safe, we’re safe,” reads one sign, with an image of a wolf wearing a face mask.

The board has distributed customizable posters to businesses that feature the wolf and the slogan, leaving room for businesses to include information on their individual strategies for limiting viral transmission. It’s part of the board’s “Responsibly Wild, Clean, Careful, Connected” campaign in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

After the Jackson Town Council approved a mask ordinance Friday afternoon, the Travel and Tourism Board updated the text for the image to indicate that the town now requires a face covering when people are in a business or in line to enter (see story on page 1).

At a meeting Thursday, the Travel and Tourism Board voted to support the mask order that Teton District Health Officer Dr. Travis Riddell submitted to the state. At that meeting, Executive Director Kate Sollitt said she did a quick visual survey on Town Square and found many businesses had the posters up in their windows.

Beyond being a public health issue, board members said mask wearing is an economic issue. Communities in many Sun Belt states such as Texas and Arizona have either paused or reversed their reopenings because their coronavirus case volume has skyrocketed.

“We just want to do everything we can as a board to make sure that Jackson has the best possible chance of staying open,” board Chairman Brian Gallagher said.

Jackson is starting to see more tourists, with Gallagher saying the town is getting 30,000 to 40,000 daily visitors right now, a number that is unlikely to decrease any time soon. Given that visitors are expected to keep coming, and that most small-business owners rely on tourism, the board is onboard the mask train.

“It is our responsibility to help share that message and ensure that visitors that are looking to come into Jackson are aware of the procedures that are in place to help keep this community safe,” board member Erik Dombroski said.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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