May 4 is the target date for many western Montana businesses to reopen for their customers within certain restrictions and guidelines from the Missoula City County Health Department.

KGVO News reached out to Kim Latrielle, the President and CEO of the Missoula Chamber of Commerce for her reaction to the day that so many merchants have been waiting for.

“The Chamber is collaborating on a campaign,” said Latrielle. “We’re actually dropping off the old fashioned signs that they used to hang in the window that say ‘We’re Open’. We’re going to those businesses that are truly opening back up for business, we’re giving them their signs and celebrating with them that they’re here and are opening back up for business. For us as a chamber with our life blood and our heart with businesses, this is a day that we’ve been waiting for and a day that’s been needed, for sure.”

Latrielle said she is sure that all the businesses will be paying extra attention to the new rules and restrictions as they reopen their doors on Monday.

“They’re amazing,” she said. “They are not going to let anything happen to their employees or their customers. They understand the importance of doing it right, in fact, they’ll probably be over cautious. Most likely, they’ll get the rules and they’ll take it ten times further because that’s what they do. They don’t want the virus to bounce back. They want to be safe.”

Latrielle said cooperation with the health department will be a two-way street as businesses reopen.

“The gift that Missoula has is that with my four decades at the chamber and (Health Officer) Ellen Leahy with her many years, we’ve met on a lot of issues over the years, but as long as we can talk through them and hear both sides, I’ve been pretty proud of the fact that we each may not get 100 percent of what we want, but we have the ability to move forward in a very healthy community working together.”

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