HELENA — Lewis and Clark Public Health (LCPH) announced Friday the facemask requirement in Lewis and Clark County will no longer be enforced following the signing of Montana House Bill 257 by Governor Greg Gianforte.
Businesses can still require customers to wear a mask in their place of business and may deny service to those that do not follow store policies.
“This bill effectively removes nearly 100 years of basic, preventative public health measures used to contain and help prevent the spread of infectious disease,” said LCPH Health Officer Drenda Niemann.
Niemann urges members of the community to continue wearing face coverings in indoor public spaces and to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
She added that moving past COVID19’s impacts on the community relies on each person to wear masks in public places and get vaccinated.
“We are not out of danger yet. We still have cases happening every single day, and several of the COVID-19 variants are present in our community,” Niemann said. “We urge community members to practice personal responsibility. It will take all of us working together to get through this.”
Lewis and Clark County has reported 56 new COVID-19 cases in the past week (April 30 - Mar 6) and there were five hospitalizations as of May 7.
HB 257 requires the formation of a local governing body to adopt public health rules moving forward. Local officials are in early discussion about how to determine the makeup of this governing body.