Revision to COVID-19 mitigation requirements recommended

MISSOULA COUNTY - The Missoula City-County Board of Health announced a series of recommended changes to be made to Missoula County’s current COVID-19 mitigation requirements during a virtual meeting Friday, Feb. 12. These revisions will be up for consideration at an upcoming meeting at 12:15 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 18.

In October, MCCHD set a goal for the County that if the daily incidence rate went below 25 for two consecutive weeks, then the Department would consider relaxing certain restrictions. This is based on the seven day average in daily new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. According to Cindy Farr, MCCHD COVID-19 incident commander, as of Friday the rate was down to 17.

Based on current epidemiological data MCCHD will not recommend relaxing the County’s mask mandate. However the Department would recommend the following changes:

1. Increasing event capacities to 50 for indoors and 100 for outdoors.

2. Removing capacity limits except as necessary to meet distancing requirements.

3. Removing certain restrictions on businesses including, but not limited to: fitness facilities, pools, places of worship and assembly, personal care businesses, restaurants and bars. Customers will be allowed to order at the bar as long as areas are designated. They can also play pool and darts as long as social distancing can be maintained.

4. Revising language throughout the rule based on input from community entities for clarity.

Even though Gov. Greg Gianforte lifted the statewide mask mandate Friday, Feb. 12 Farr said he also voiced support for local authorities enacting their own mask mandates. According to her, additional progress needs to be made before the County mask mandate can be repealed.

“While we have seen our number of cases dropping and we’re actively vaccinating people in our community, we still have many vulnerable community members left to vaccinate, and we continue to have COVID transmission in our community,” she said. “This means that it’s important that we continue doing all that we can to protect the community and that does mean continuing to wear masks, practicing social distancing, frequent hand washing and getting tested if you develop symptoms.”

There is currently no benchmark figure in place for when MCCHD can remove the mask mandate, but Farr said once the department determines that herd immunity has been established in the area, then they can begin the rescinding process. The Board of Health revisits all of the restrictions every month at their meeting.

Public comments regarding the changes can be submitted through the Resident Feedback Portal on until Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. There will also be a public comment period during the Feb. 18 virtual meeting that starts at 12:15 p.m. Comments are subject to a time limit.

To join the meeting visit for the Microsoft Teams Meeting link. For audio only call 406-272-4824, conference ID 132 065 824.


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