Casper City Council on Tuesday will consider an ordinance to enforce the social distancing and related orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The proposed ordinance, to be discussed at the council's work session at 4:30 p.m., would make it a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and jail term to violate the orders from Gov. Mark Gordon, State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist, as well as the ones from Natrona County Health Officer Dr. Mark Dowell.

The first order closed public places including schools; child care facilities; bars, restaurants and other gathering places. The second order by Harrist forbids gatherings of 10 people or more. The orders are effective through April 30.

However, those orders didn't have specific legal teeth.

State law grants cities and towns the authority to regulate "conduct which disturbs or jeopardizes the public health or safety, in any public or private place," and the power to enforce ordinances, according to the draft of the resolution.

"Essentially, this Ordinance will provide the police department an avenue to promote public safety and provide consistency with other Wyoming venues," according to the memo from the city clerk and city attorney to Casper City Manager Carter Napier.

The draft ordinance mandates these punishments:

  • Conviction of a first violation would be punishable by a $250 fine.
  • Conviction of a second violation would be punishable by a $750 fine.
  • Conviction of a third or subsequent violation would be punishable by a fine of up to $750 and/or imprisonment up to six months at the discretion of the court.

The ordinance requires business establishments and places where more than 10 people gather to impose conditions to ensure compliance with the state orders. The business managers and the businesses themselves will be subject to citation, according to the draft ordinance.

The work session can be viewed on Cable Channel 192 or YouTube. The council takes no official action during work sessions, and does not receive public comment. If the council tentatively approves a draft ordinance, it will be presented for its first reading at a regular meeting with a public hearing.

If approved after three readings, the ordinance will end when the statewide orders are canceled or on Sept. 1, whichever comes first.

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