Montana Public Radio

Missoula County Issues Its Own COVID-19 Reopening Order

Apr 24, 2020

Missoula officials say they still don’t have adequate testing capacity and don’t want to risk an unnecessary spike in cases by lifting COVID-19 restrictions too quickly.

Ellen Leahy Friday said Gov. Steve Bullock’s directives may be a good fit for some communities, but not for Missoula. The county health officer issued Missoula’s own reopening order today impacting group size gathering and some business openings.

"To give another level of protection to the state’s second most populated county and to have the testing and contact tracing capacity this large county needs, we do need to add more requirements."

During Missoula’s first reopening phase all county events and gatherings — including the local Farmers Market — will be limited to 25 people or fewer, and all must maintain six-foot social distancing. All local salons, massage, piercing and spa services remain closed until further notice.

Under the Missoula order created Friday, retail businesses can only reopen Monday for delivery or curbside pickup. Those businesses will be able to reopen for in-store traffic May 1, with social distancing rules. only if they limit customer numbers, provide clear social distancing plans and develop staff health screening measures.