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Gallatin County Allows Larger Event Sizes As COVID-19 Cases Decline

A trendline shows daily new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people in Gallatin County since March 2020. The trend line peaks in November 2020 with 167 new cases per day, with a smaller peak in mid-January 2021. Case counts now are in the yellow.

The Gallatin City-County Board of Health has relaxed a COVID-19 related health rule limiting event sizes as the spread of the virus has slowed down.

During a special meeting Friday, the Gallatin City-County Board of Health voted to expand group gatherings from the current limit of 25 people to a maximum of 150 for indoor events and up to 250 for outdoor events if certain physical distancing measures can be maintained.

Participants at indoor events with more than 50 people are required to be seated at tables that are at least six feet apart with no more than six people per table. Exceptions include “retail-like” events, such as trade shows, if the sponsor can create a layout that allows attendees to maintain six feet of distance.

For outdoor events, dance floors and other setups that encourage “unpredictable social interactions that do not allow six feet of distance between participants” are prohibited.

Organizers for outdoor events with more than 150 people must submit a plan outlining measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to Gallatin County’s Environmental Health Services 30 days in advance.

Capacity restrictions for bars, restaurants and theaters remain in effect.

Exemptions to the group size limitation include places of worship, K-12 schools and institutions of higher learning and organized youth events.

The rule also allows an exemption for museums, sit-down theaters, and outdoor competition venues with established seating arrangements that adhere to physical distancing guidelines and do not exceed 50% capacity.

Before the vote, Health Officer Matt Kelley said COVID-19 cases lately have been much lower than the surge that peaked in November but still higher than most of the first seven months of the pandemic.

The Gallatin Health Board will meet in a few weeks to discuss whether to repeal or amend individual health orders related to COVID-19.