BUTTE — It’s been over a year since Butte businesses have had to abide by COVID-19 restrictions but now that time has ended.
“And I think this is the time and the place for us to move forward and lift the restrictions,” said Butte Chief Executive J.P. Gallagher.
During a Tuesday press conference, Gallagher and Butte-Silver Bow Health Officer Karen Sullivan announced there will be no restrictions on businesses and the county-imposed mask requirement is being lifted.
The decision came after Butte showed sustained low COVID-19 infection rates for more than three straight weeks.
“And therefore, we recommend, as a health department staff and the board of health, to lift and rescind the restrictions we’ve had in place for months,” said Sullivan.
“We’re going with the belief that putting personal responsibility on to the citizens is the right thing to do. We also ask our citizens to respect the businesses that are requiring mask mandates," Gallagher added. "Some of them are larger corporations that are doing it nationwide.”
This was welcome news to some in local business community.
“Long overdue is my first reaction. I’m really happy to see and I think we’re going to see a lot more people out and about that feel confident they can be out and about,” said M&M Manager Kevin McGeever.
Gallagher added that like many people in the community he too has been personally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and he hopes this will be the first step to get us out of a dark time.
“This last Sunday was the first time to have my mother to leave her residence, which she’s in one of the assisted living facilities here in Butte, and spend a day and have dinner with her and give her a hug. I want this to be a celebration, not something that’s going to cause confrontation or a lot of problems in our community,” Gallagher said.
Officials did caution that if there is a spike in COVID cases they could bring back the restrictions and mask mandate.