On Tuesday, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte appeared on KGVO’s Talk Back show and he shared his thoughts about the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

“I trust Montanans with their health and the health of their families,” Gianforte said. “I consulted with my doctor and I got vaccinated. Nine out of ten people going into the hospital right now have not been vaccinated. I believe these vaccines are safe and effective. I would encourage people to talk to their medical professional, pharmacist, or doctor about getting one. But with that being said, we have to respect personal liberties. I think the role of government is the educate and communicate, but not to mandate.”

According to Missoula City County Health Officer D’Shane Barnett, state legislators are responsible for exacerbating the pandemic’s effects across the state. However, Gianforte said the state is taking action.

“We have been deploying national guardsmen and women to help with the hospitals,” Gianforte said. “We have had a number of requests. We have fulfilled a number of those and we have more in the process. I just recently issued an emergency order to help ease the strain on hospital capacity. This virus is serious and we need to take it seriously. Individuals have to take responsibility for their own health and the health of their loved ones.”

On Friday, Barnett said now is the time when Missoula would have mandates in place for things like mask requirements and limiting event size. Gianforte said that is not going to happen.

“Mandates don’t work,” Gianforte said. “This increase in infections in Montana is concerning and we have to take it seriously, but the virus infections are going up in states with mandates and in states that don’t have mandates. We will get through this together.”

Gianforte was asked if there has been any discussion about calling a special session to reverse the legislation that was passed earlier this year.

“These provisions were passed by a majority in the house and senate,” Gianforte said. “I think they are in line with our constitution. I have committed to the people of Montana that we are going to have a sanctuary state for freedom and the free market. Freedom is not without risk. That is why you need an informed citizenry that can make the best decisions for their own lives, but we are not going to take away personal liberty.”

Gianforte said his door is always open and he firmly believes our best days are ahead of us.

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