Jackson Town Council has announced an emergency meeting for 5 p.m. today to discuss more ordinances to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting comes on the heels of a sharp rise in coronavirus cases both statewide and locally.
As of Friday afternoon, the Wyoming Department of Health was reporting 10 cases in Teton County. Statewide, 70 patients have tested positive for the new coronavirus.
“We are different from the rest of the state, and we may need to take more aggressive actions to contain the spread of COVID-19 than the state government feels are needed,” Mayor Pete Muldoon told KHOL.
One way this area is different: second homeowners. According to the Jackson/Teton County Affordable Housing Department, 38% of homes are occupied by second homeowners, retirees or left vacant.
Some have voiced concerns about the potential influx of such folks from New York, the American epicenter of the coronavirus, and heavily populated states with thousands of cases such as California.
Meanwhile, other folks worry about this area’s tourism, even with many services and the area’s national parks shut down. Some have suggested to council members a measure similar to what Moab enacted that limits hotel and campground stays to residents only.
These worries largely stem from concerns about Jackson’s limited health care infrastructure, which prompted officials to shut down nonessential services in the county last week before Governor Mark Gordon enacted a statewide measure the following day.
On Wednesday, the governor stopped short of issuing a “shelter-at-home” order urging people to instead make the right decision and stay home on their own accord. “Your voluntary actions and discipline are going to make the difference as to whether we can slow the spread of COVID-19,” he said.
Town and county officials are also hosting a COVID-19 community update at 3 p.m. today. Watch both meetings here.