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Business owners react to change in Missoula mask mandate

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MISSOULA — Missoula health officers introduced Monday the county-mask order is being lifted as Missoula reaches its vaccination and case rely purpose.

This comes after Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a invoice that limits a neighborhood authorities’s authority to implement health guidelines.

The governor signed House Bill 257 — which pertains to native board of health and health officers actions involving a personal enterprise — final Friday.

Essentially, the brand new legislation prevents metropolis or county-wide orders that apply to companies and doubtlessly restricts their clients, resembling a mask mandate and its enforcement.

Gov. Gianforte’s signing of the measure occurred across the time Missoula County reached the vaccination purpose wanted to rescind the county mask mandate.

The county health division will now transfer from a mask requirement to a mask suggestion — which means it’s up to the person enterprise to resolve how they method mitigation efforts — or in the event that they use them in any respect.

MTN News talked with two native enterprise owners on Monday, each of whom shall be glad to see the mandate lifted.

Whether you’re in the enterprise of hospitality, health and fitness, retail or private care, patrons come in many alternative varieties – some double masking and a few not wanting to put on a mask in any respect.

“We probably have a 50/50 split of people wanting to wear masks and not wanting to wear masks,” proprietor of VRTX Fitness Rene Nazelrod advised MTN News.

“Every person who walks through the door might have a different idea,” echoed Red’s Bar proprietor Mike Helean.

For any and each enterprise proprietor in the final 12 months — implementing the mask mandate on behalf of the Missoula City-County Health Department took extra than simply taping an indication on the door.

“We put up signage, we talked to people, we had our staff and employees go through the gym to make sure people were adhering to the mask mandate, and that was something that took a lot of staff,” mentioned Nazelrod.

After almost a 12 months of adhering to the mandate, the foundations are altering.

It will now be up to enterprise owners like Nazelrod and Helean to decide whether or not masks are required inside their respective institutions.

Both enterprise owners advised MTN News they plan to elevate the mandate for his or her patrons and employees.

Since buying VRTX Fitness in the autumn of 2020, Nazelrod has spent the whole thing of her possession beneath the mask mandate. Taking off the mask will imply lastly seeing her fitness center goers’ faces.

“It does allow us to smile, it allows us that connection that we’ve all been missing, and I think that’ll be a good thing for Missoula,” she mentioned.

Helean advised MTN News that his clients and employees are in the identical boat — keen to take off the masks. He’s assured the change shall be good for enterprise.

“Employees will like it, customers will like it, and if you’re uncomfortable coming into a place that isn’t wearing masks, then I guess that’s tough,” mentioned Helean. “People don’t have to come in if they don’t want to, but I think a good majority of the people that walked through my doors over the last year will be happy they don’t have to deal with it anymore.”

Some entities, like Mountain Line and the Missoula International Airport are nonetheless topic to federal mask necessities, and Missoula County Public Schools will maintain onto their mask requirement for the rest of the college 12 months.

To mask or not to mask — these two enterprise owners merely ask for one factor.

“Respect people that want to wear a mask or that don’t,” mentioned Nazelrod.

“At this point, it’s a personal choice,” mentioned Helean.



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