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Wyoming to lift mask mandate, COVID restrictions on March 16

Gov. Mark Gordon announced on Monday that the state will "resume normal operations" for bars, restaurants, theaters and gyms.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The governor of Wyoming announced on Monday that the state will end its mask mandate and lift COVID-19 restrictions on March 16.

Gov. Mark Gordon said the decision to "resume normal operations" for bars, restaurants, theaters and gyms was due to the state's declining number of COVID-19 cases and success with vaccinating residents.

"I thank the people of Wyoming for their commitment to keeping one another safe throughout this pandemic," Gordon said in a statement. "It is through their efforts that we have kept our schools and businesses operating and our economy moving forward."

Face coverings will still be required in K-12 schools after March 16, Gordon said, "especially since our children will not have the chance to be vaccinated this spring."

The governor's announcement cited Wyoming's declining number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and its success in rolling out the vaccine. It said that nearly 100,000 first doses had been administered and that 19% of the state's population had received at least one dose. Wyoming's population is about 578,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The state was in Phase 1C of vaccinations, which includes individuals experiencing homelessness; prison and jail inmates; critical infrastructure workers; residents ages 50 and older; college students who live in dormitories, and those with certain medical conditions.

"I ask all Wyoming citizens to continue to take personal responsibility for their actions and stay diligent as we look ahead to the warmer months and to the safe resumption of our traditional spring and summer activities," Gordon said.

Other states that have announced an end to COVID-19 orders include Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Arizona.

RELATED: Texas to join 15 US states without statewide mask mandates

Health experts say mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing and other measures continue to be essential to stop the spread of coronavirus.

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