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Missoula business waits for health department guidance before reopening

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Posted at 8:37 AM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 10:40:09-04

MISSOULA — The phased reopening plans that Gov. Steve Bullock announced for Montana earlier this week has been a lot to take in and some business owners are confused -- including one popular Missoula apparel shop that's decided to wait to reopen.

Aimee McQuilkin, who has owned Betty's Divine on the Higgins Avenue Hip Strip for 15 years, says that without clear directions from authorities, she doesn't know when she will be ready to reopen.

Gov. Bullock’s guidelines leave many decisions to local health departments and Cindy Farr says the Missoula City-County Health Department is actively working on guidance for local businesses.

Farr is asking business owners to be patient, but for Mcquilkin, it makes for a hard business decision.

"Retail shops like mine have never had to deal with the health department, and health and safety protocol,” McQuilkin noted. “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."

Health and local officials are planning a news conference on Friday afternoon to release details about the first phase of reopening in Missoula County.