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Missoula officials approve requirement to wear face masks in indoor public settings

LIVE: Missoula officials discussing proposed face mask in public requirement
LIVE: Missoula officials discussing proposed face mask in public requirement
LIVE: Missoula officials discussing proposed face mask in public requirement
LIVE: Missoula officials discussing proposed face mask in public requirement
Posted at 12:06 PM, Jul 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-09 21:33:36-04

UPDATE:

Missoula has become the first major city in Montana to require the wearing of face coverings.

Local officials have approved a rule that requires people over the age of 12 to wear face masks while inside in a public setting.

The motion passed unanimously. Missoula County is the second county in the state to issue a mask mandate with Big Horn County being the first.

Watch the full meeting below.

Missoula meeting to disucss face mask wearing requirments

Missoula County Health Officer Ellen Leahy stated that the age 12 part of the ruling was decided upon due to short notice -- as well as for pragmatic reasons.

She further noted that face coverings are safe for anyone over age 2 and she strongly encouraged people from age 2-to-12 to wear a mask even though they are not required.

Officials stated during the hearing on Thursday that individuals will not be fined but businesses will if they violate the requirement. The fines would range from $10 to $200.

MSO Health Dept Survey

It was noted that 81% of Missoula city and county respondents were not opposed to the proposed rule.

Those who did voice opposition to the measure cited several concerns including over enforcement and infringement on civil liberties.

Public comment from both sides of the issue was taken during Thursday afternoon's special meeting.

Click here to read the full order.


first report

Local officials are holding a special meeting to discuss a proposal that would require face masks to be worn in public places in Missoula County.

The Board of Health meeting is reviewing a proposal that would increase the use of face coverings in indoor public settings.

The Missoula City-County Health Department notes that the proposed rule would be effective immediately and require that face coverings be worn inside public spaces by people 12 years of age and older.

The proposal also includes exemptions to the rule indicating specific circumstances in which an individual might be exempt from wearing a face covering, according to a news release. The exemptions would include while people are eating or drinking, or during strenuous physical activities.

Missoula County Health Officer Ellen Leahy stated that the age 12 part of the ruling was decided upon due to short notice -- as well as for pragmatic reasons. She further noted that face coverings are safe for anyone over age 2 and she strongly encouraged people from age 2-to-12 to wear a mask even though they are not required.

Missoula County COVID-19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr notes that .05% of cases in Missoula County have been found in people under 12.

Officials stated during the hearing on Thursday that individuals will not be fined but businesses will if they violate the requirement. The fines would range from $10 to $200.

Missoula Face Mask Enforcement

A poll conducted by MTN News on Facebook -- that received over 11,600 votes, as well as over 850 comments -- shows that 47% of respondents are in favor of the face mask proposal while 53% oppose the measure.

The public was invited to comment on the draft of the proposed Board Rule and Health Officer Order prior to Thursday's meeting. Officials note that over 4,000 public comments were received on the online portal between June 26 and July 8.

Officials noted that 81% of Missoula city and county respondents were not opposed to the proposed rule. Those who did voice opposition to the measure cited several concerns including over enforcement and infringement on civil liberties.

MSO Health Dept Survey