Missoula County extends statewide restrictions, closes salons, tatoo studios and massage parlors

MISSOULA - Missoula City-County Health Officer Ellen Leahy issued a local adoption and extension until April 15 of the Governor's state-wide directive from March 20 regarding bars, restaurants, casinos and gyms. The Missoula City-County Health Department also added closure orders for cosmetic salons, body art establishments and massage parlors effective 11:59 p.m., March 24. Also, a requirement for social distancing in retail stores in Missoula City and County has been added.

In the order, Leahy extended the Governor's closure order for alcoholic beverage service businesses, cigar bars, dine-in consumption at restaurants, health clubs and gyms, indoor recreational facilities, movie and performance theaters, nightclubs, concert halls, bowling alleys, bingo halls, music halls and casinos through April 15. Restaurants and coffee shops are are still permitted to use delivery, drive through and take out services.

In addition to the extension of the existing order, the following establishment and activities in Missoula County shall be closed to the public:

1) All body art establishments;

2) All hair and cosmetic salons;

3) All massage service except those contained within state-licensed physical therapy or chiropractic practices .

The order also provides direction for social distancing in all stores and retail establishment not otherwise affected by this or any Governor's Directive. Places of business shall maintain a separation of at least six feet between customers in line for assistance and check-out inside and outside the facility.

In a press conference, Leahy said overall she is very happy with the compliance of local businesses to the Governor's directive. The biggest issues they have heard about are people congregating while waiting in lines to check out.

Leahy said the MCCHD has no way to enforce this except through complaints. The MCCHD received three complaints on St. Patrick's Day in regards to the Governor's directive. Local law enforcement addressed the issue. She asks that complains be made to the MCCHD during business hours by calling their main number, 258-4770. Most of the complaints do not require 9-1-1 attention.

In response to a question about why April 15 was chosen, Leahy responded, "I thought it better to just put a further date out there and expect that there could be, either locally or by the Governor, more aggressive actions between now and then."

While Leahy did not provide any updated information regarding hospital supplies or capacity, she did say there is still a big concern that health care facilities could be overwhelmed should the cases continue to increase exponentially.

Missoula currently has six confirmed cases. Leahy said that more than 70 tests for COVID-19 were given in Missoula County in the past 24 hours. Everyone that has been tested is in self-quarantine until the results are available which is taking two - five days.

No more information about the two new cases in Missoula County was available during the press conference and Leahy was unsure if the cases were caused by community spread.

"There is no treatment," said Leahy. "Our only prevention is this social distancing so I do not expect social distancing will suddenly go away in light of the fact that the cases will exponentially increase," said Leahy in a press conference.

These orders are effective in Missoula County. Any future Governor's orders that are stricter that these local orders will be in effect statewide including Missoula County. However, local orders that are stricter than state-wide Governor's orders, will be remain effective in Missoula City and County.


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