The governor’s directive repeals certain restrictions on Montana small businesses, including restrictions on hours of operation and capacity. However, this change will not override orders from county health boards that have adopted their own capacity or time restrictions. Several large counties, including Cascade and Lewis & Clark, have approved such regulations in recent months.
In a press release, Gianforte said that “Montana small business owners have strived to create a safe environment for their employees and customers while keeping their doors open. The new directive recognizes the diversity of the challenges businesses face in this pandemic and gives them the flexibility to develop and implement appropriate policies based on industry best practices. ”
The guideline replaces the 25-person limit for public gatherings with a simple statement that “all public gatherings or events should be managed in a manner that meets CDC social distancing guidelines.”
Where industry best practices do not exist, the governor’s directive states that “these policies shall be developed and implemented in accordance with federal, state and local regulations and guidelines.”
Gianforte also outlined a path to quash the mask’s statewide mandate. First, the most vulnerable Montanais are vaccinated. Second, lawmakers are sending their office action to protect businesses and schools from lawsuits if they make a good faith effort to protect individuals from the spread of the coronavirus and follow clear public health guidelines.
The new guidelines will take effect at 5 a.m. on Friday, January 15. Click here to read the full document.
“Improving our response to the pandemic has been my top priority,” Gianforte said. “Today, I publish a new directive which removes or replaces the heavy layers of the existing ones. These new guidelines are clear. They are practical. They are common sense. And they are easy to understand. ”