Whitefish Chamber Thursday Update
July 16, 2020
Downtown Whitefish Photo by Bill Milner
Mask mandate now affects all of Flathead County
Bullock says: 'Mask-up, Montana!'

     One day after the City of Whitefish moved to require employees and customers to "mask-up" in local businesses, Gov. Steve Bullock on Wednesday expanded that order to include all Montana counties with more than four active COVID-19 cases ... including Flathead County.

     The Governor's directive is nearly identical to the City's emergency ordinance, in that it requires local business owners to provide masks or face coverings for their employees, to require both their staff and customers to wear masks in all areas that are open to the general public, and to prominently post signs informing customers of the masking requirement.

Taking things a step further
     The Governor's directive is actually a bit more restrictive than the City ordinance.  For example:
  • Children ages 5 and over must wear a mask or face covering while in indoor spaces open to the public (the City excluded children under the age of 12);
  • Face coverings are required in "all indoor spaces open to the public," which includes indoor churches and places of worship; and
  • Specific language is required for signage at all points of entry to your business -- "Mask or face covering use required for ages five and older."
     Like the City's ordinance, Bullock's order places the onus of enforcement squarely on the shoulders of local business owners, and establishes no penalties for individuals who refuse to wear masks or face coverings in local businesses or in public.  On the other hand, b usinesses who fail to enforce the ordinance will be subject to civil penalties of up to $300 for the first violation, and up to $500 for subsequent violations.

     The Governor's order direct businesses to "deny entry, refuse service, or ask to leave" any person who refuses to wear a face covering.  If a patron refuses to mask-up and refuses to leave, businesses are advised to call local police to enforce the state's trespassing laws and other laws the person may violate.

      CLICK HERE to read the full text of the Governor's Masking Directive, which went into effect immediately after the Governor's press release on Wednesday afternoon.
Up to 50 per business ... right now!
Chamber has masks
for local businesses

     We all saw the move toward mandatory face masks coming ... but not everyone was prepared for it!  Literally overnight, local businesses were required by law to provide masks or face coverings for their entire staff ... and for mask-less customers as well, if they wanted their business.

     That's left scores of local business owners scrambling -- along with the Chamber, the City and CVB -- to get their hands on large numbers of masks ASAP ... and without breaking the bank!

     The Whitefish Chamber can help you out on both scores ... but you better act quick!  We recently received 2,000 reusable cloth face masks from the Montana Hospital Association, and we're offering them to Whitefish Chamber members free of charge for as long as they last ... and they won't last long!

Email your mask request today; have them in-hand tomorrow!
    Due to demand, we're limiting requests to 50 masks per business ... enough to get you up, operating and legal, and give you a little bit of time to gauge how many you may need for mask-less customers this summer.
     To reserve your masks,  CLICK HERE to email Visitor Center Manager Debbie Webb.  The masks come in sealed packages of five, so let Deb know how many you'd like to pick up and she'll have them ready for you the following day!  The Chamber offices are open Monday thru Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and from 9-2 on Saturdays.

For individual masks, send 'em to City Hall!
     Fifty masks ain't a lot ... so when you run out and have patrons who need one, send them to City Hall!
     No kidding -- the Whitefish CVB and the City have joined forces to supply individual masks to visitors who need one in order to step into your bar, restaurant or shop and spend their hard-earned money.  So send them to Whitefish City Hall -- at the corner of 2nd Street and Baker Ave. -- and pick one up for themselves or their entire family.
     City Hall is open daily Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information, call them at 863-2400. 
Mayor John Muhlfeld
Mayor John Muhlfeld
New front door signage coming ...
City urges compliance
with Masking Ordinance

     The City of Whitefish's latest "Community Update" includes a plea from Mayor John Muhlfeld for business owners -- and the public -- to support the City's new Masking Ordinance in an effort to protect Whitefish residents from COVID-19.

     "While we've seen good use of masks with employees since passing our (voluntary masking) resolution, Muhlfeld said, "there has been continued poor adherence from some sectors of our community and some visitors.  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 to be effective.

     Click on the image above to view the Mayor's most recent PSA, and for the latest front-door signage for your business, visit  www.whitefishcovidcares.com.
Whitefish Chamber of Commerce | P.O. Box 1120, 505 E. Second Street
Whitefish, MT 59937 | (406) 862-3501 |   whitefishchamber.org