Butte official hopeful falling COVID-19 rate will allow easing of business restrictions

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Posted at 11:26 AM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 13:26:17-05

BUTTE — Butte Chief Executive J.P. Gallagher recently sent a letter to Butte’s Board of Health to look at the county's COVID-19 infection rate and consider loosening restrictions on businesses.

The new chief executive believes things are getting better in Butte, "by accounts of where we’re going, we’re moving in the right direction to be able to open up to less restrictions."

The Board of Health is limiting businesses to 50% capacity and casinos and bars must close by 10:30 p.m.

The health board will keep the current restrictions until Butte’s positivity rate remains below 10% for two weeks and cases per 100,000 people is below 25 for two weeks.

Currently, the positivity rate is at 8% percent and 30 cases per 100,000. “And the metrics have been holding pretty well and dropping,” said Gallagher.

Gallagher insists his decision to press the board of health had nothing to do with pressure from some small businesses that held a recent meeting objecting to the current COVID-19 restrictions.

“There’s pressures both sides, you know, truthfully, there’s people that like us to really ramp up the restrictions and of course a lot of the businesses would like to open up more, so there’s a balance of it all. But I’m not going to give in to the pressure of one side or the other. We’re going to make decisions that we think are best for the community,” said Gallagher.

Ultimately, it will be Butte’s Board of Health that makes the decision on whether to loosen the COVID-19 restrictions for small businesses.

“But I want to make sure we remain engaged at the country government level that they know we’re supportive of them, but we want to know where we’re going and when the decision will be made,” said Gallagher.