NewsMissoula County


Missoula business choosing to stay closed amid state's reopening plans

Posted at 5:03 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 21:11:31-04

MISSOULA — Businesses across the state are getting ready to reopen, but Betty's Divine plans to stay closed.

Owner Aimee McQuilkin said, "I just feel ill prepared to accept customers into my store."

"Retail shops like mine have never had to deal with the health department, and health and safety protocol. We're just told that we can open as long as we follow social distancing guidelines and clean all the surfaces, but we need more than that vague, open to interpretation directive," McQuilkin continued.

Governor Bullock's guidelines leave many decisions up to local health departments. Cindy Farr said the Missoula City-County Health department is actively working on guidance for local businesses.

"We recognize that things cannot stay closed long term, but we also want to be very measured in our approach, and provide our community with the guidance that they need in order to do this right," Farr said in her Thursday afternoon daily briefing.

Farr is asking business owners to be patient, "I know that's not all the answers that you would have liked to hear me say today."

McQuilkin said that without clear directions from authorities, she doesn't know when she will be ready to reopen. "It's the hardest business decision I've ever had to make."

For now, Betty's Divine will keep its lights off.