Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon announced Tuesday afternoon that the state will loosen COVID-19 restrictions on restaurants.

The updated health orders will take effect Thursday.

“Even in the face of a rising number of active cases, we recognize that the restaurant industry has faced challenges throughout this pandemic,” Gordon said in a news release. “Nevertheless, they have really responded to ensure the safety of their customers. These are important steps that will help our restaurants recover and safely welcome more customers throughout the fall and winter.”

Under the new orders, restaurants will no longer be required to space out seating in booths and the number of people at a table will increase from six to eight.

Wyoming health officials say that data indicates sit-down dining in restaurants has not significantly contributed to the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state.

Additionally, school districts will no longer require those who have had close contact with an identified positive to quarantine provided both the close contact and infected individual were wearing face masks.

That change is specific to schools.

The new school guidelines come after health officials say wearing face masks and social distancing have prevented widespread outbreaks.

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