The federal court decision striking down mandatory masking for mass transit has already taken effect in Missoula.

KGVO reached out to the Mountain Line for word on masks, and the receptionist on duty said the mask mandate was removed on Monday, just after the court decision.

At the Missoula Montana Airport, a maskless Director Brian Ellestad provided this comment.

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“So as of this morning, we took down our signs and we took down the audio announcements in the terminal,” said Ellestad. “So right now no masks are required and in the terminal it’s all optional. We are still giving them away. We’ve got bins by all the entrances and so people are more than welcome to take them. We still have people with masks on through the terminal and some vendors have them, so we still see them.”

Ellestad said the airport staff has all been masked 24-7 for the last two years, so he said it felt ‘kind of weird’ not to be wearing one.

“For the staff, it was ‘this feels kind of weird not having a mask on’,” he said. “So it’s just been a little bit of a change. We've been masked for so long that I think people are happy but still a little cautious and people will do what they need to in order to protect themselves. It'll be great to get back to normal. You know, we've lived with a mask for two years that I think there are still a lot of people that are wondering if it'll stick. We obviously hope it does, but we'll see what happens.”

Ellestad said work on the new terminal is on schedule for a May opening.

“We're racing toward the finish line right now,” he said. “We still have May 4th as our target. We hope to get occupancy from the city later this week and then start moving things over the following week and then hoping to be open to the public the week of May 4th.”

KGVO was recently at the new terminal to greet Senator John Tester who lobbied hard to get the airport expansion approved.

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