UPDATE, 3:40 p.m. Saturday, March 28: The town approved what Mayor Pete Muldoon dubbed a "shelter in place” ordinance, effective immediately.
The order applies to everyone in the town of Jackson and is set to expire on April 17, the same date state- and county-wide orders are set to end.
It exempts people experiencing homelessness, as well as victims of domestic violence who may be seeking safe haven somewhere besides their home. The decree also allows people to leave for certain things like going to the grocery store, seeking medical care and supplies, and recreating outdoors with six feet of distance between themselves and others.
“It’s not like we’re living through the Battle of Britain here,” Muldoon said, referencing the multi-month battle in World War II that forced English civilians to seek shelter in underground subways.
“We can get through this," he said.
He asked people to think of their at-risk neighbors, noting, "It’s going to be hard."
Original story, 2:15 p.m. Saturday, March 28: As the town mulls an order telling all people in Jackson to stay home, the county’s health officer said he already has one on the books for those 65 and older and those with "high risk medical conditions."
The order will be in place until April 17, the same date to which Gov. Mark Gordon extended statewide closures Friday afternoon.
It applies to those over 65, those with high risk medical conditions, those who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility, and those who live with an older adult or someone with one of those medical conditions.
The order requires those people to stay home unless they’re leaving to perform a specific few activities: buying groceries, obtaining medical care or supplies for a household member or pet, caring for a family member or pet in another household, recreating outside while maintaining six feet of distance from other people, or traveling to work if work cannot be done from home.
Teton District Health Officer Dr. Travis Riddell said he’d received state approval for the county order Saturday, eight days after he began drafting it, and about five days since it first landed on State Health Officer Alexia Harrist’s desk.
Both Riddell and Mayor Pete Muldoon expressed frustration that approval for the order had taken so long.
“I think we’re as disappointed as you,” Muldoon said, referencing one of Riddell’s comments about the state’s delays in approving the order.
The mayor described the Riddell’s actions as “leading the way in the state of Wyoming” and “maybe dragging them behind a little bit.”
If the Town Council approves a stay at home order this afternoon — they have just taken a recess to fine tune the order, and are expected to do so soon — Jackson will precede the state in doing so.
Riddell said he is also working on expanding the county-wide stay at home order Harrist approved Saturday for people deemed most at risk. His goal, he said, is to submit an order that would require all people to stay home across Teton County.
The county-wide stay at home order that would apply to all people would be similar to the one town councilors are considering now.
Riddell said Harrist, so far, has not signaled an appetite for such an order. Her signature is required for a county-wide order to go into effect.