Chamber of Commerce leaders were guests on the KGVO Talk Back show on Friday and spoke of fostering communication with the Missoula City County Health Department about the mandatory masking policy.

Chamber Executive Director Kim LaTrielle said with the new mandatory masking order, the onus is on the merchant to enforce the policy as customers enter their establishment. KGVO asked LaTrielle if the Chamber and the health department are collaborating on training for local employees who must enforce the order.

“We’re in the works of doing that,” said LaTrielle. “We’ll have to do that via ZOOM, but our businesses are very clear. They want the health department there. They want it to be a synergy and a conversation. You cannot be pointing fingers at each other at this time. They have questions and the health department has answers and by working together through that, basically they are partners in this.”

LaTrielle expanded on that concept.

“Businesses are partners with the health department and they need to be talking to each other, so we’re setting that up and it could happen as soon as next week,” she said. “We’ll see how often we have to do it, but we have some members right now who want that, and we have the health department leaning forward. To me, that’s the role of the chamber and that’s being positive for your community.”

LaTrielle revealed that there are people falsely representing the health department who are calling businesses with complaints.

“Some of my businesses have mentioned that they got a call that said a complaint had been levied by a person who was representing themselves as being from the health department,” she said. “They talked to the receptionist but would not talk to the owner, so here’s my message to all of you in business. I called Ellen Leahy at the health department and she said that’s not the way it happens. If a health department person is calling that you’ve had a complaint filed, the caller should share who they are, to tell you what the complaint is about, and they should be talking to management. If other businesses are dealing with such a call, you should take a breath, because what I hear from Ellen (Leahy) that is not the way they do business.”

Representatives from the Missoula Chamber of Commerce are guests on Talk Back once a month.