On Thursday afternoon, The Missoula City County Health Department issued its orders in reaction to last week’s Phase 2 opening press conference from Governor Steve Bullock.

Health Officer Ellen Leahy said that the orders would officially take effect on June 1.

She said much of her commentary would be dealing with events, such as assemblies or large gatherings of people.

“The governor always clearly states as the law clearly states, that locals can issue guidelines that are more restrictive than the state,” said Leahy. “What we’re doing isn’t necessarily more restrictive. I think it’s a way to implement the governor’s guidelines and that is what people are looking to do, and to do it safely.”

Leahy noted the Governor Bullock has placed Missoula in a group of cities with high visitation potential.

“This morning I learned that Governor Bullock that Missoula is one of the 20 counties that are labeled ‘high tourism’,” she said. “Thos events draw people. Even if we don’t have events, our town still draws people, so we want to honor that advice, be respectful and careful with those public health principles, and all of get some practice on how we can gather in safer ways.”

Leahy began with groups over 50 people.

“For events of 51 to 250 people we recommend a plan that ensures the six foot distancing, the disinfection and the ability to identify someone who many have been exposed to another person. We have an appendix in our other orders that has all the steps in it, so that’s a recommended plan.”

Leahy then jumped to larger gatherings of people.

“If the event is going to be over 250 people and up to 1,000, we require a plan,” she said. “All the steps in that plan are based on those public health principles. Those principles are important because events are some of the higher risk activities for spread. If they are highly structured, you can mitigate that spread, but if they’re not highly structured, you can have uncontrolled spread.”

Leahy added that without full cooperation from the group, the entire plan will collapse.

“Nobody can manage a group of people who choose not to be managed,” she said. “People who choose not to be safe, who choose not to be respectful, so if you like an event and your event is going forward, please cooperate with the event manager’s plan so that it can continue and that no one gets sick.”

Attached are the new Missoula City County Health Department COVID 19 orders.

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