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Missoula health board eases some Covid-19 restrictions; mask mandate remains

Missoula health director Ellen Leahy added that the city and county are nowhere near close to herd immunity, so it’s vital to continue with personal mitigation efforts. (File photo)

(KPAX) The Missoula City-County Board of Health is easing some of the COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place.

However, the mask mandate will remain in place.

The county recently reached a milestone as the incident rate of daily new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people seven-day average has dropped below 25 for more than two weeks.

During a Thursday meeting, the health board has voted to loosen some of the restrictions including:

  • Increasing group sizes for events to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors.
  • Removing capacity limits except as necessary to meet distancing requirements.
  • Removing certain restrictions on businesses including, but not limited to, fitness facilities, pools, places of worship & assembly, personal care businesses, restaurants, and bars.

Health board members noted that the revisions were based in part on input from community entities.

Some in the community worry that easing these restrictions will just diminish how far we’ve come, but according to Health Officer Ellen Leahy, we’ve put ourselves in a strong position to fight the pandemic.

“We built ourselves a staircase, and so now you can step back without going complete open, complete close, back and forth,” Leahy said.

Leahy added that we’re nowhere close to herd immunity, so it’s vital we continue with our personal mitigation efforts which is why they will not be lifting the countywide mask mandate.