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The latest Montana politics, elections and Legislature news.

Missoula County Lifts Mask Mandate

Discarded mask

Missoula County lifted its mask mandate Monday, effectively ending all COVID-19 restrictions for the general public in the area.

The Missoula City-County Health Department made the announcement after more than 60% of eligible residents got at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Missoula County Health Officer Ellen Leahy says the county has met an intermediate goal, but hasn’t reached herd immunity.

“We’re just at a point where we’re starting to move from being protected by mitigation mandates to being protected by vaccines. But we’re not there yet.”

Health experts say at least 75% of a population must be fully vaccinated to reach herd immunity.

Leahy says businesses and residents have been cooperative with social distancing, washing hands and wearing face masks, but still have a role to play.

“We’re depending on that to help with this transition because it really takes months to move from mitigation measures to vaccine as your means for protecting the community.”

Leahy says businesses and nonprofits within the county can still require the use of masks or face coverings.

Other counties, including Gallatin and Lewis and Clark, are no longer enforcing their mask mandates because of a new law signed by Gov. Greg Gianforte prohibiting local governments from doing so. 

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