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Gianforte poised to reverse Montana’s mask mandate, opt for voluntary compliance

If incoming Gov. Greg Gianforte, a Republican, reverses outgoing Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock’s mask order, Montana will be just the second state after Mississippi to lift its mandate. (File photo)

(KHN.org) Incoming Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signaled he won’t continue a statewide mask mandate in place since July, though he said he plans to wear a mask himself and get vaccinated against COVID-19.

If Gianforte, a Republican, reverses outgoing Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock’s mask order, Montana will be just the second state after Mississippi to lift its mandate. Thirty-eight states now have statewide mandates.

“I trust Montanans with their health and the health of their loved ones,” Gianforte said in a recent interview with KHN. “The state has a role in clearly communicating the risks of who is most vulnerable, what the potential consequences are, but then I do trust Montanans to make the right decisions for themselves and their family.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says masks help prevent transmission of COVID-19. At least one study has found that states with mask requirements have had slower COVID growth rates compared with those without mandates.