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CITY OF WHITEFISH TO ENACT EMERGENCY ORDINANCE 21-01, CONTINUING MASK MANDATE
WHITEFISH, MONT. (Feb. 10, 2021) -- Today, 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 will enact Emergency Ordinance 21-01, 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 posted
stating: 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 outdoor
activity, 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:
On February 10th, the CDC released a study that found a 95% reduction in the spread of Covid-19 when wearing tightly fitting masks. Particularly, cloth masks worn over a medical procedure mask, and medical procedure masks with tightened ear loops and extra material tucked in close to the face were found to be the most effective.
"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."
The Whitefish Covid Task Force continues to meet regularly and promote its safety messaging campaign. The Task Force was formed by local stakeholders to distribute a unified messaging campaign across the community to slow the spread of Covid-19. The program is funded through Montana's share of the CARES Act that was made available to the State's cities, towns and counties. For more information, and to take the pledge, visit WhitefishCovidCares.com.