WHITEFISH — The City of Whitefish is planning to enact an emergency ordinance to continue the mask mandate Friday following Gov. Greg Gianforte’s announcement that the statewide mandate will be lifted.
MTN News talked with Whitefish City Manager Dana Smith on why the city feels this is the best decision moving forward for both residents and visitors.
An emergency ordinance approved by the Whitefish City Council in early January will go into effect Friday continuing the mask mandate in the City of Whitefish.
The emergency ordinance will be in effect for 90 days requiring all people inside a business or indoor space open to the public to wear face coverings over their mouth and nose at all times.
Under the ordinance, all businesses are required to have visible signage posted reminding visitors to wear a mask.
Children under the age of five are not required to wear a face-covering and people visiting a bar or restaurant do not need to wear a mask while seating.
Whitefish City Manager Dana Smith says the emergency ordinance will help Whitefish businesses stay open as travelers continue to visit the resort town.
“We do believe that this is in the best interest of all of our visitors, community members and businesses in that it’s going to protect an outbreak of COVID-19 that could overwhelm our healthcare system,” Smith said.
Smith says the Whitefish COVID Task Force will also continue to promote COVID safety messaging throughout the city for the foreseeable future.
Smith added that the Whitefish City Council could consider an additional emergency ordnance after 90 days depending on guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.