July 2020: Mask Mandate
On Wednesday, Governor Steve Bullock issued a new directive, which requires face coverings be worn in certain indoor spaces and for certain organized outdoor activities in counties currently experiencing four or more active cases of COVID-19.
Gov. Bullock says the directive requires businesses, government offices, and other indoor spaces open to the public to ensure that employees, contractors, volunteers, customers, and other members of the public wear a face mask that covers their mouth and nose while remaining inside these spaces. The directive also requires face coverings at organized outdoor activities of 50 or more people, where social distancing cannot be maintained.
The governor says the CDC released a study this week, concluding that “mandating the use of face coverings” in a salon in Missouri likely mitigated the spread of COVID-19. According to the state’s coronavirus task force, in the last month the number of active COVID-19 cases in Montana has risen from 55 to more than 1,000.
The directive does not require face coverings in counties with less than four active cases or for children under 5, though face coverings are still strongly encouraged in both cases. The governor says other exceptions include children under 2, while eating or drinking at businesses that sell food or drinks, during activities that make face coverings unsafe (like strenuous physical exercise or swimming), while giving speeches or performances in front of a socially distanced audience, while receiving medical care or for people with a preexisting condition that would make wearing a face covering unsafe.
The governor’s directive goes into effect immediately.