Wyoming's courts, governor, back stricter COVID-19 measures

Wyoming's courts, governor, back stricter COVID-19 measures

Mark Gordon

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon gives a press conference about COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, on March 3 inside the Capitol building.  

CHEYENNE (AP) — Wyoming state courts suspended all but the most pressing in-person proceedings Wednesday while Gov. Mark Gordon overrode his own earlier remarks and fully endorsed federal guidelines to help control the coronavirus.

Just a few hours after President Donald Trump and other administration officials announced the federal recommendations Monday, Gordon said he and his staff “don't disagree” with them.

It's important to remember “that waitresses have to earn a living, that our waiters have to earn a living,” Gordon added at the news conference.

On Wednesday, he said in a press release he supported the Trump administration guidelines, which among other things urge people to work and school children at home whenever possible and not gather in groups of more than 10.

The federal government over the weekend progressively reduced the gathering-size guidelines, Gordon pointed out in an interview with The Associated Press. He described his changing position as “progressive implementation of the recommendations that were themselves evolving over the last several days."

“Part of it is signaling that we're moving to a more aggressive posture,” Gordon said.

State officials have had a “rapid increase in concern” as the number of residents infected with coronavirus has risen, reaching 16 on Wednesday, but they get different views about how to respond, Gordon said.

People have been writing the governor's office with views ranging from “You aren’t being aggressive enough” to "What are you worried about?" Gordon said.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, and the vast majority recover. The elderly and people with existing health problems can get pneumonia or other serious illnesses.

Meanwhile, the state Supreme Court ordered that all state courts, starting at the close of business Wednesday and continuing to April 10, suspend in-person proceedings. A range of exceptions include ongoing jury trials, emergency child-protection matters and proceedings necessary to protect criminal defendants' constitutional rights.

Recent court investments in video technology should help, Chief Justice Michael K. Davis said in a news release.


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