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Wyoming’s Governor Contracts Coronavirus After Condemning Mask Mandates in Favor of ‘Personal Responsibility’


Even with the novel COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic spiking among the citizens of Wyoming over the last month, Gov. Mark Gordon, a Republican, refused to issue any statewide mask mandates, instead arguing that it was up to each individual to be personally responsible for taking whatever precautions he or she sees fit. Gordon’s office on Wednesday confirmed that the governor had tested positive for the disease, saying he was experiencing “minor symptoms” — according to a report from CBS News.

“Governor Mark Gordon received results today of a COVID-19 test that showed he is positive for the virus,” the governor’s office said in a statement to the news outlet. “He only has minor symptoms at this time and plans to continue working on behalf of Wyoming remotely.”

Gordon’s reticence to address the resurgent pandemic waivered slightly last week when he issued a series of new health restrictions that limit indoor facilities to one-quarter capacity and outdoor facilities to one-half normal capacity. Still, he has refused to require the now-politicized wearing of face masks, which experts agree help stymie the spread of the disease.

“I recognize that there are many positions on this pandemic—in the past week I’ve met with groups on all sides, I get texts on a regular basis, and I continue to believe in taking personal responsibility,” Gordon said during a press conference  last month.

“It is incredibly important that we take personal responsibility for our actions and understand how those actions can implicate others. Part of the responsibility for us, is to be honest about this virus.”

Despite going on to note the effectiveness of wearing a mask during that press conference, Gordon has continued to eschew any kind of mask requirements, reflecting a position similar to that of President Donald Trump and other GOP leaders.

According to a Thursday report in the Washington Post, several counties in Wyoming have attempted to impose their own mask restrictions. Those regulations are often ignored, with municipalities seeking more help from state government to make enforcement possible.

Gordon’s positive test wasn’t his first brush with the disease. He was forced to quarantine for two weeks earlier this month after he was exposed to a White House coronavirus official who actually had the coronavirus during a meeting in Riverton. However, multiple test results came back negative following the potential exposure.

[image via YouTube screengrab]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.