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Lewis And Clark County Lifts Restrictions On Crowd Size, Businesses

Cars drive through downtown Helena, Mont. on June 18, 2020.
R. Miller
Cars drive through downtown Helena, Mont. on June 18, 2020.

Montana’s Lewis and Clark County will lift all COVID-19 related restrictions, except its mask mandate, on Friday. The health board’s decision comes as more communities consider peeling back or amending some health orders as COVID-19 cases have fallen.

The Lewis and Clark City-County Board of Health will pull back restrictions on the number of attendees at events, hours of operation for businesses, and capacity limits at bars, restaurants, distilleries, breweries, casinos, gyms and fitness centers.

People over the age of 5 are still required to wear face masks in any indoor space open to the public and some outdoor public spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained. The mask order is in effect until the end of the emergency declaration or is repealed by the health board.

With a quarter of the Lewis and Clark County population vaccinated and the possibility of coronavirus variants, health officials are urging people to continue efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Lewis and Clark County health officials say the decision to lift certain restrictions was based on dropping below a threshold for six weighted factors, including health care capacity, case investigations and community compliance, over a two week stretch.

In February, Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte lifted the statewide mask mandate, and capacity limits and curfews on all businesses, though some jurisdictions kept their local health orders.

On Friday, the Gallatin City-County Health Board will decide whether to relax limits on group gatherings after last month lifting the 10 pm curfew on businesses that served alcohol.