Whitefish Chamber Friday Update
July 10, 2020
In this issue
  • City approves Resolution urging masks in public places and businesses
  • Going-to-the-Sun Road set to open on Monday morning
  • Hotelier guidance -- How to handle a COVID-positive guest
  • 'What Now ... What's Next?" for the Montana economy?  Economic Outlook 2020 will answer those questions July 30
City Council approves mask-wearing Resolution
Front-line workers and tourists
'strongly encouraged' to mask-up

     After reviewing more than 500 letters from business owners and citizens and listening to more than an hour of comment from the public, the Whitefish City Council on Monday passed a resolution that "strongly encourages" the use of masks or cloth face coverings in businesses and public settings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
     With COVID-19 infection rates on the rise in Montana and across the country, Mayor John Muhlfeld says the Council took the action in an effort to "protect our vulnerable community and keep our economy open."

     The Resolution calls for "all individuals" to wear face masks i ndoors in businesses or other public settings, and outdoors when in "communal settings."   Business are directed to provide masks to employees and require their use in the workplace, and to encourage patrons to wear face coverings by prominently posting signs suggesting the same.

First step towards mandatory mask ordinance?
     While encouraging workers and the public to wear masks, the Resolution stops short of mandating their use.  Mayor Muhlfeld and other Councilors made it clear, however, that if their "encouragement" doesn't have the desired effect, the Council may consider passage of an Ordinance that legally requires masking in public and establishes penalties (i.e. fines) for non-compliance.

     The City's Crisis Communications Team has designed a pair of new window signs in an effort to encourage our visitors to comply with the new Masking Resolution.  Click on the links below to download and print one for your business:
East entrances remain closed; traffic 'turn-around' at Rising Sun 
Sun Road set to open on Monday

     Glacier National Park officials announced Thursday that the full length of the Going-to-the-Sun Road will open to vehicular traffic on Monday morning (July 13), barring last-minute changes due to weather.

     Due to the Blackfeet Tribe's decision to close the reservation to non-essential travel, the park's east entrance at St. Mary's will remain closed for the season.  Visitors will need to enter and exit the park through the west entrance at West Glacier.  Traffic will be allowed as far as Rising Sun on the east side.

Road construction continues; services limited
      There will be sporadic work zones on Going-to-the-Sun Road with traffic control and flaggers, including on-going spillway work along Lake McDonald, guard wall repair near Triple Arches, and seepage repair at Siyeh Bend. Visitors need to be on the lookout for multiple work zones.
     Services at Logan Pass will include restroom facilities and potable water. Visitor information services will be provided outside of the Logan Pass Visitor Center from 9-4 daily. The Glacier National Park Conservancy bookstore will be operating inside of the Logan Pass Visitor Center, with access at the upper level. The bookstore will be accepting credit cards only and will limit the number of people inside at any one time to enable appropriate social distancing.
     Services at Rising Sun Motor Inn will include the camp store and public restrooms from 8 am to 8 pm.  The Two Dog Flats restaurant will be providing "on-the-go" food service from 11 am to 6 pm.  A water bottle filling station is available.  The overnight lodging and public showers are closed for the season.  The Rising Sun Campground is currently closed. 

     Make sure to advise your guests to leave West Glacier with a full tank of gas, as there are no gas services in the park or at Rising Sun.  For more information on Glacier's reopening, CLICK HERE
Health Department issues guidance for lodgers
How do I handle a COVID-positive guest?

     It's the question none of us want to handle, but one that's inevitable as out-of-state visitors return and the COVID-19 virus makes its presence known in our community.

     The Flathead County City-County Health Department has issued a set of guidelines for lodgers who have a guest that contracts COVID-19.  Most notably, guests who test positive will be required "isolate" for 10 days or more at your property if they are unable to leave Flathead County.   Among the recommendations issued by the Health Department:
  • Require all guests to sign a waiver prior to booking, agreeing to pay for all expenses incurred as a result of a mandatory COVID-19 isolation;
  • Consider leaving 1-2 rooms unbooked at all times to accommodate the potential need to isolate guests;
  • Be aware that Flathead County does not have a location to house COVID-19 patients whose conditions do not require hospitalization, and that COVID patients are admitted to local hospitals only if their symptoms become severe and require a heightened level of medical care.
        CLICK HERE for the full text of the Health Department's Guidance for Lodging Facilities.
Annual Montana Chamber event set for July 30
'Economic Update' to focus  on COVID's effect
on our local, state and national economies

      Across the globe, businesses today are faced with uncertainty, creating critical challenges. More than 100,000 American small businesses have already closed their doors permanently as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and an estimated 7.5 million more are at risk of permanent closure. 
     Each year the Montana Chamber Foundation sponsors its Economic Update Series, which this year bears the appropriate title: "What Now; What's Next?"  Join the Montana Chamber on July 30 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Kalispell to hear their mid-year economic projections for our local, state and national economies, and for some expert insight into what's on the horizon -- recession or recovery.

     For more information or to reserve your seat for the July 30 luncheon, CLICK HERE.
Whitefish Chamber of Commerce | P.O. Box 1120, 505 E. Second Street
Whitefish, MT 59937 | (406) 862-3501 |   whitefishchamber.org