MISSOULA — The remainder of the Missoula Mavericks weekend baseball tournament was canceled after the Mavs received an order from the Missoula City-County Health Department on Friday evening saying that the tournament needed to be shut down.
Environmental health director for the health department Shannon Therriault spoke with MTN News on Saturday saying that the health department was notified of the tournament by a complaint on the department's Facebook page on Thursday morning and had spoken with the tournament organizers on Thursday and Friday to devise a plan that would allow for safe social distancing standards and follow the Phase 2 reopening plan created by Missoula City-County health officer Ellen Leahy.
The requirements for events are as follows:
- Events that cannot allow for social distancing are limited to at most 50 people, such as weddings, dances and parades.
- Events that allow for safe social distancing and can create a plan to ensure those rules are followed can accommodate up to 250 people.
- All events that account for more than 250 people must have a plan and need to submit that plan to the health department.
Therriault stated that due to the amount of people coming to the tournament and the number of players that would be playing it would be difficult to reach out to the individuals if a positive case of COVID-19 was found and that is why the health department sent out the order to cancel the tournament. Distancing regulations, group size limits and exclusion of those in attendance with possible COVID-19 symptoms were other issues brought up in the notice sent to the Mavs.
She said the Mavs did not submit a plan ahead of time for the tournament.
Therriault wanted to reiterate that the event standards were created for a reason and to keep people safe from the virus.
"I get that people are tired of the restrictions and I am thankful we live in Missoula because Missoulians are doing a great job at wearing cloth face coverings and staying six feet apart from people. Its just important that we know the disease is out there and that the numbers are climbing in Montana. We just have to stay vigilant and so our community can stay safe," said Therriault.
The Missoula Strikers, a club soccer program, also announced that a tournament they were hosting was also canceled shortly after the Mavs.
With those cancellations, questions have arisen about the protests recently in Missoula that have seen hundreds of people congregate at the courthouse. When asked how those situations compare, Therriault said, "A protest is something that is not cancelable. What we can do is tell people this is what you have to do, this is how you can keep people safe.”
Therriault added she applauds the way that the farmer's market has adjusted to the event standards and keeps people moving instead of staying at one vendor.