Whitefish Chamber Special Update: Feb. 11, 2021
Governor also signs COVID liability protection bill
Statewide mask directive lifted;
local mask mandate continues

     Gov. Greg Gianforte on Wednesday signed Senate Bill 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.

     He also announced that Montana's statewide mask mandate will be lifted tomorrow (Friday), an action which triggers enactment of the City of Whitefish's local mask mandate, which is expected to be in place for at least 90 days.
     The City ordinance 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." 
Signage and outdoor masking also required
     In addition, the ordinance requires that 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 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, the ordinance states that 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 the ordinance 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.
     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, visit WhitefishCovidCares.com.