HELENA — Lewis and Clark County is expected to lift all COVID-19 restrictions with the exception of the face mask mandate on Thursday.
The change comes following the triggering criteria score for the Emergency Rules and Regulations is expected to fall below the threshold of 18 this week, resulting in a lifting of all restrictions in the county, except for those centered on masking.
All individuals over the age of 5 will continue to be required to wear face masks in any indoor spaces open to the public and some outdoor public spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Lewis and Clark Public Health (LCPH) say the face covering mandate will continue during the pandemic until the end of the emergency declaration or the Emergency Rules and Regulations are repealed by the City-County Board of Health.
Public Health’s reasoning to keeping the mask mandate is that the majority of the county has yet to be vaccinated for COVID-19, including many that are considered vulnerable. As of March 9, around 13% of the 69.000 people living in Lewis and Clark County are considered fully vaccinated.
Lewis and Clark Public Health Officer Drenda Niemann says this is great news, but cautions individuals to remain vigilant about masking while in public, physical distancing, staying home when sick, and avoiding large gatherings so that the county doesn’t slide back into more restrictive measures.
“It’s encouraging to see our numbers decline and community conditions improve, and a lot of that comes down to our community working together to make that happen,” Niemann said. “However, it’s important to remember what got us to this point – physically distancing, wearing masks, limiting capacity at establishments and other common-sense practices. It’s vital we keep working together to ensure our numbers continue to stay low.”
Data and metrics used to determine the triggering core in Lewis and Clark County for COVID-19 restrictions can be found here.