WHITEFISH — The City Whitefish is planning to enact an emergency ordinance following Gov. Greg Gianforte’s Wednesday announcement that the statewide mask mandate will be lifted.
The statewide mask mandate will be lifted on Friday, but the City of Whitefish will enact Emergency Ordinance 21-01 which was approved on Jan. 4. It will be in effect for 90 days.
The emergency ordinance requires that "all businesses, government offices, or other persons responsible for indoor spaces open to the public shall require and take reasonable measures to ensure that all employees, contractors, volunteers, customers, or other members of the public wear a face covering that covers their mouth and nose at all times while entering or remaining in any indoor spaces open to the public."
Additionally, "All points of entry open to the public shall have a clearly visible sign posted stating: Mask or face covering use required for ages five and older," a news release states.
For any outdoor gatherings, "Where social distancing is not possible or is not observed, sponsors shall require and take reasonable measures to ensure that all persons attending an organized outdoor activity wear a face covering that covers their mouth and nose at all times."
Furthermore, "At all outdoor gatherings, whether or not it constitutes an organized outdoor activity, all individuals are required to wear face coverings while in attendance where it is impracticable to maintain six feet of physical distance at all times, or where attendees are not observing at least six feet of physical distance from others."
Notable exceptions to ordinance 21-01 include:
- Children under the age of five. All children between the ages of two and four, however, are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in accordance with the provisions of this emergency ordinance.
- Persons consuming food or drinks in an establishment that offers food or drinks for sale while seated.
- Further exceptions can be found here.
"The city council enacted this ordinance proactively in anticipation of the Governor lifting the state mask mandate. We did this to continue supporting our health care, emergency services and front line workers, as well as keep our businesses open," Whitefish Mayor John Muhlfeld stated in the news release.
"We will continue to adapt to changing conditions by responding to the science and data we receive from the CDC and Flathead City County Health Department and make informed decisions to remain vigilant to protect our community's health,” Muhlfeld added.