(KPAX) Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte said during his first news conference since being sworn into office that he does plan to repeal the statewide mask mandate, but the change will not happen immediately.
Any changes will happen once clear and practical guidelines are in place and he has legislation on his desk that protects businesses, schools non-profits and places of worship who are following those guidelines from lawsuits and vaccine distribution have widely been expanded to vulnerable populations.
“I choose to wear a mask and encourage others to do the same,” Gov. Gianforte said.
The governor said that he wants to see additional COVID-19 vaccinations and is looking to move away from directives to incentives.
Vaccination plans for Montana are being revised by the Montana Department of Health and Human Services and will take effect immediately.
Under Gov. Gianforte’s plan, the vaccine distribution plan is to be expanded to cover all Montanans who are 70 years of age or older.
Additionally, COVID-19 vaccines will be provided to residents between the ages of 16 and 69 who have specific underlying health conditions.
Gov. Gianforte says that Montana has received 36,000 first doses of COVID-19 vaccines and additional 41,000 first doses are expected.
The governor also noted that 23,000 Montanans have received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday.