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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Missoula County Lifts Some COVID Restrictions, Modifies Mask Mandate

Restaurant window in Missoula, MT with a sign saying 'open for distant dining or delivery.'
William Marcus
Montana Public Radio
Restaurant window in Missoula, MT with a sign saying 'open for distant dining or delivery.'

Missoula County’s Board of Health converted many of its COVID-19 rules for bars, restaurants and gyms to recommendations Thursday. The county’s mask mandate will remain in effect, but with some changes.

Members of the health board approved the changes in light of COVID cases in Missoula remaining relatively low. The changes shifted what were rules on capacity and social distancing at bars, restaurants and gyms down to recommendations.

The county’s mask mandate remains in effect until 60% of residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. As of April 12, 53% had received at least one dose, and 33% of residents were fully immunized. The rule changes also increased the threshold for when masks are required at outdoor events, raising the limit from 25 to 50 people.

Meanwhile the City of Helena is surveying local businesses to gauge whether they need financial help to operate long-term with the presence of COVID-19. The city will use the results to determine if it needs to direct federal COVID relief funding to the business community.

The City of Helena will hold an open house for local businesses to give a summary of the COVID Transition survey on May 5, from 5-8 p.m. at the Helena Civic Center. City Manager Rachel Harlow-Schalk will be available to answer questions.

Aaron Bolton is Montana Public Radio's Flathead Valley reporter.
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