City considers mask-wearing resolution Monday night
To mask, or not to mask ...
With COVID-19 infection rates on the rise in Montana and across the country, the Whitefish City Council on Monday will consider passage of a Resolution establishing guidelines for the use of face masks or coverings that "must be followed" by employees -- and the public -- in high-traffic business and public spaces.
The proposed Resolution calls for "all individuals" to wear face masks i
ndoors in businesses or other public settings, and outdoors i
n City parks and on City sidewalks, shared-use paths and right-of-way. 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.
Those who are exempt from the proposed Resolution include:
- Kids under the age of six,
- Folks who have a mental/physical condition that precludes them from wearing a mask,
- Workers in jobs where face coverings are "not compatible" with the duties of the profession,
- Workers who don't have contact with the public and can maintain social distancing from co-workers, and
- Patrons seated at a bar or restaurant while eating or drinking.
Not mandatory for now, but all that could change
Mayor John Muhlfeld -- at a workshop held Wednesday with local business owners and City officials -- said that the Resolution will "strongly encourage" mask wearing by workers and the public, but stops short of legally requiring their use.
"We want to strongly encourage mask wearing by business owners, their employees and our visitors," Muhlfeld said, "and hope that people do the right thing. It wouldn't be enforceable at this point, but if the Council feels the guidelines aren't being followed, we could pass an Ordinance making it mandatory" and establishing penalties for non-compliance.
Chamber Board supports the Resolution ... what do you think?
The Whitefish Chamber's Board of Directors this morning voted unanimously to support the Resolution encouraging mask use in high-traffic businesses and public areas, in an effort to slow the spread of the virus in our community and avoid the possibility of going back to Phase 1 restrictions, which essentially killed the tourism trade for the better part of three months.
"We can't afford to move backward," Chamber Executive Director Kevin Gartland said, "but we all realize that we need to move forward carefully. The vast majority of our local businesses have already taken significant steps to protect their employees and the public; hopefully this Resolution will bring the rest on-board ... and our visitors as well.
The Whitefish City Council wants your input on this important issue, and time is of the essence.
to read the text of the Resolution that will considered by the City Council at its Monday night meeting, and email your comments to City Clerk Michelle Howke at
no later than 4 p.m. on Monday July 6 to make sure your opinion will be considered by the Council.