In response to the rapid increase of coronavirus cases, the governor of Montana is taking a public mask mandate statewide.
“These are decisions that I don't take lightly, yet they are a necessity,” Gov. Steve Bullock said at a news conference Tuesday.
Previously, the mask mandate was enforced on a county-by-county basis, based on how high the Covid-19 case rate was in each county. Starting Friday, all coronavirus health restrictions will apply statewide. Additionally, restrictions on businesses are being tightened.
“Restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and casinos will be required to operate at no more than 50% of normal capacity and close no later than 10 p.m.,” said Bullock.
Restaurants will be able to serve a maximum of six people per table, down from the current limit of 10. Public gatherings where social distancing is not possible will be limited to 25 people.
Bullock said the state will provide more grants to assist businesses that are affected by the new rules, but also called on Congress to come to an agreement for more relief. “The needs that they have are greater than what we can give them with the remaining coronavirus relief funds,” Bullock said.
Bullock, a Democrat, lost his race for a US Senate seat this month and will leave office in January. The new governor will be current Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte who has previously expressed a reluctance to enforce statewide mandates to control coronavirus.