A dozen extra people showed up at the Nov. 17 Sublette County commissioners’ meeting to protest facemask policies – even while many wore them – saying it should be a personal choice.
Commissioners were hearing from Sublette County Public Health Nurse Janna Lee, who asked if she could institute a facemask policy for public coming to her office. Public Health Officer Dr. Brendan Fitzsimmons accompanied her to the meeting at Marbleton Town Hall and offered his input.
Sheriff KC Lehr and Undersheriff Lance Gehlhausen were present, “just in case.”
Recently, Dr. Fitzsimmons submitted a separate countywide facemask request to the Wyoming Department of Health, who oversees all 23 county public health offices.
Hours later, the state approved his request and those from other counties, whose public health officers had asked Gov. Mark Gordon for a statewide mandate, which the governor declined to do.
“We would really appreciate having a policy in place to protect my staff,” Lee said, pointing to the alarming local spike in
active cases. “I want to keep our office doors open.”
Chair Dr. Dave Burnett asked, “Are you asking us because the county owns the building?”
Yes, Lee said. Her staff all wear masks and she wants to keep them safe when the pubic tests for Covid-19.
Everyone is asked to wear masks but her office gets phone calls from “some people not so kind to us and people who have really respected us,” she said.
Burnett asked Sublette County Rural Health Care Administrator Dave Doorn if both clinics require people coming inside to wear facemasks.
“Yes,” Doorn said. “For eight months already.”
“No patients without a facemask,” Burnett said.
Doorn said “greeters” make sure incoming patients have one on.
Commissioners clarified the differences between the clinics’ policy, Lee’s request to the county and Fitzsimmons’ request to the state
“As long as it’s well understood this is different than a county-instituted mandate,” said Commissioner Joel Bousman. “I’m strongly against that. ... If I as an individual feel so strongly about not wearing a mask, I won’t go into that business or office.”
A man asked Lee about someone not wearing a mask coming to Public Health for a flu shot.
Lee said of 200 people getting flu shots, “every single one of them came through with a mask.”