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City of Whitefish lifting restrictions on lodging facilities

City of Whitefish
Posted at 5:59 PM, May 19, 2020

WHITEFISH — With the announcement by Gov. Steve Bullock moving Montana into Phase Two of the state's reopening plan, as well as ending the 14-day self-quarantine directive as of June 1, the Whitefish emergency lodging ordinance will allow city lodging facilities to provide accommodations for all travelers also starting on June 1.

"We realize the challenges our businesses have faced through this crisis," said city manager, Dana Smith, in a news release on Tuesday. "We have all worked together to mitigate the spread of the virus and we appreciate the support of the Whitefish community as we look to the next phase."

The current Whitefish emergency lodging ordinance prohibits all lodging facilities in Whitefish from providing accommodations for reservations and walk-ins for non-essential purposes during Phase One. With Montana's Phase Two beginning on June 1 and the 14-day self-quarantine directive lifting at that same time, all existing reservations for non-essential purposes through May 31 must be canceled, but lodging facilities may start taking reservations and accepting all visitors starting June 1.

All businesses are required to follow the social distancing and sanitation guidelines established in Phase One, and Montanans are strongly encouraged to continue sanitation practices, including hand washing and wearing masks in public places like grocery stores.

"Now that we prepare to welcome visitors back, we ask travelers to show careful consideration during their visit to help maintain the well-being of our community members," said Smith.

The city of Whitefish is working together with the Whitefish Convention and Visitors Bureau on a responsible travel awareness campaign, as well as resources for small businesses to mitigate the spread, protect front-line staff, communicate with visitors, and provide a safe reopening.

"As we begin this reopening, we need to maintain continued vigilance in our community. I want to emphasize the need to practice six feet social distancing and frequent hand washing," continued Smith. "We ask that everyone wear masks in public places that do not allow for social distancing, and limit gatherings."