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On Wednesday, February 10, 2021, Governor Gianforte announced he will issue a directive to lift the statewide mask mandate on Friday, February 12, 2021.
On Wednesday, February 10, 2021, Governor Gianforte announced he will issue a directive to lift the statewide mask mandate on Friday, February 12, 2021. He also signed a new bill into law, SB 65, which protects businesses, health care providers, nonprofit organizations and places of worship from lawsuits related to Covid-19 as long as they take measures to follow public health guidelines. With the statewide mandate expiring, the City of Whitefish Emergency Ordinance 21-01 will be activated, which was approved on January 4th, 2021 and will last for 90 days following its commencement on February 12, 2021. Emergency Ordinance 21-01 requires that "all businesses, government offices, or other persons responsible for indoor spaces open to the public shall require and take reasonable measures to ensure that all employees, contractors, volunteers, customers, or other members of the public wear a face covering that covers their mouth and nose at all times while entering or remaining in any indoor spaces open to the public." Additionally, "All points of entry open to the public shall have a clearly visible sign postedstating: Mask or face covering use required for ages five and older." For any outdoor gatherings, "Where social distancing is not possible or is not observed, sponsors shall require and take reasonable measures to ensure that all persons attending an organized outdoor activity wear a face covering that covers their mouth and nose at all times." Furthermore, "At all outdoor gatherings, whether or not it constitutes an organized outdooractivity, all individuals are required to wear face coverings while in attendance where it is impracticable to maintain six feet of physical distance at all times, or where attendees are not observing at least six feet of physical distance from others." Notable exceptions to ordinance 21-01 include: • Children under the age of five. All children between the ages of two and four, however, are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in accordance with the provisions of this emergency ordinance.• Persons consuming food or drinks in an establishment that offers food or drinks for sale while seated.• Persons who have a medical condition precluding the safe wearing of a face covering.• Further exceptions can be found here. "The city council enacted this ordinance proactively in anticipation of the Governor lifting the state mask mandate. We did this to continue supporting our health care, emergency services and front-line workers, as well as keep our businesses open," explains Mayor John Muhlfeld. "We will continue to adapt to changing conditions by responding to the science and data we receive from the CDC and Flathead City County Health Department and make informed decisions to remain vigilant to protect our community's health."Violations of Emergency Ordinance 21-01 may be reported to the City by visiting https://www.cityofwhitefish.org/covidcomplaint.