Sheridan Brewery Owner Resists Face Mask Orders In Viral Video
In a Facebook video that has since gone viral, a Sheridan brewery owner on Wednesday posted a viral Facebook video in which she said she will not require her employees to wear face coverings, contrary to statewide health orders.
Smith Alley Brewing Co. owner Tiffany McCormick said officers from the Sheridan Police Department visited her business and warned her about not making her employees were face masks. McCormick claimed the police officers were not wearing face coverings when they went to the brewery.
Under Wyoming's public health orders, food and beverage industry employees are required to wear face coverings while at work. The orders do not apply to law enforcement.
Sheridan Police Dept. Lt. Tom Ringley did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
In the Facebook video, which has since been viewed nearly 200,000 times, McCormick claimed that statewide mandates cannot be enforced with the same strictness as codified law.
But Sheridan County Attorney Dianna Bennett told K2 Radio News on Thursday the police officers who visited the brewery did so with state orders from Wyoming Department of Health State Health Officers Dr. Alexia Harrist in hand.
"There is a Wyoming statute that says those orders are enforceable by a possible misdemeanor," Bennett said. "What would we do? I'm not going to prognosticate what we do if that ever came to enforcement."
"I don't want to deal with those cases and I know law enforcement doesn't want to. No one wants to do that, but they're valid orders. So the question is: how are we supposed to enforce them? Fortunately, we haven't had to deal with them yet."
Wyoming Department of Health spokesperson Kim Deti echoed Bennett and said that the orders are indeed lawful.
"Keep in mind the face coverings are also required for businesses offering personal services such as hair salons," Deti said in an email. "In general, the nature of some businesses does not allow for social distancing as well as others and that is considered when orders are being determined based on risk. We also encourage the use of face coverings in businesses where we might not require them."
Bennett said someone visiting Smith Alley Brewing Co. visited the business and observed staff working without face coverings and reported it. As a result, law enforcement paid the business a visit.
Bennett said Thursday that, to her knowledge, McCormick is now requiring her staff members to wear face coverings. A police officer reportedly stopped again at Smith Alley Brewing Co. and the employees there were in compliance.
State Representative Mark Jennings, R-Sheridan, offered his support for McCormick on Facebook on Wednesday after she reportedly reached out to him.
"Thank you Smith Alley Brewery for reaching out to myself and Senator Biteman," Jennings wrote in a post. "It is our honor to stand with you and other businesses like you. We will do everything we can to continue to support our small businesses."
For the most part, Bennett said businesses in Sheridan County are obeying the health orders.
"People are following it and understanding it," Bennett said. "The thinking is the more successful we are at it, the next step comes quicker. That's the goal.
"I think everyone is doing their part."
McCormick did not immediately return a message left for her at Smith Alley Brewing.