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The Whitefish City Council today passed Ordinance 20-11 requiring the use of face coverings in public settings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. More than two-thirds of 356 letters received supported the ordinance.
"One week ago, we enacted a resolution urging the voluntary use of masks in public settings," said Mayor John Muhlfeld. "While we have seen good use of masks with employees since passing our resolution, there has been continued poor adherence from some sectors of our community and some visitors. I would like to thank the businesses, residents, and visitors who have complied with the voluntary request. But our council felt this next step is in the best interest of our citizens. The use of face coverings in public must be community-wide for it be effective."
Effective July 15, 2020, all employees and patrons of a business must wear a face covering or mask. If a business does not enforce this requirement, it could be subject to a civil citation and a possible fine. There are no criminal penalties for violations of the ordinance.
There are certain instances in which employees and patrons do not have to wear a mask or face covering, such as children under 12, those with physical or mental disabilities who cannot tolerate masks, those dining or drinking while seated in a restaurant or bar, those actively exercising, and those in private offices provided social distancing can be maintained.
Thanks to the donation from the Montana Hospital Association and a partnership with the Whitefish Convention & Visitors Bureau, individuals who do not have their face coverings may pick up a re-usable mask at City Hall during regular business hours. The Whitefish Chamber of Commerce will also be making masks available to their members.
You can download Ordinance No. 20-11. For violations of the City Ordinance 20-11, a complaint may be filed online. If you have questions about the City ordinance, you can email us. If the complaint is about a business outside of the City’s jurisdiction, please file a complaint with the Flathead City-County Health Department. For individuals with questions about the Governor’s directive you can call the Montana COVID-19 informational line at 1-888-333-0461.