(KPAX) The mask mandate in Missoula County will remain in effect.

The announcement comes after Gov. Greg Gianforte announced on Wednesday that he was lifting the statewide mask mandate on Friday.

A social media post from the Missoula City-County Health Department states that “when the science suggests it is safe to repeals a mask mandate, Missoula County will do so, but that time is not now.”

MCCHD issued a statement on Thursday morning stating that "at this time, there are no plans to remove Missoula County’s mask mandate. Health Officials will continue to let science guide the critical decisions they make during this health crisis."

Local public health officials are stressing that the science suggests wearing a mask is essential in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19.

MCCHD notes that the Harvard Global Health Institute reports the COVID-19 risk level in Montana and Missoula County is "in the orange zone. This means we are still close to the red zone, which is considered a tipping point for uncontrollable spread of the virus."

"Missoula County has been a leader in the response against this virus and has continuously reported lower COVID-19 case counts than other large Montana counties during this pandemic due to our COVID19 mitigation efforts," MCCHD Public Information Officer Hayley Devlin stated.

"We want to thank Missoula County residents for their hard work and sacrifice in working with us to make that possible," the news release concludes.

Click here to read the full statement from the Missoula City-County Health Department.

The below information is from the Missoula City-County COVID-19 Information website:

Within Missoula County, the COVID-19 mitigation requirements generally include:

  1. Face coverings required within indoor, public spaces for those age 5 and older.
  2. Face covering requirement for outdoor gatherings of more than 25 people.
  3. Guidance for businesses, government offices, nonprofits, places of assembly, and places of worship.
  4. Guidelines for events.

In the event there is no mask mandate at the state level, Missoula County's mask mandate will remain valid and enforceable in Missoula County.