Local and State Face Covering Requirements
July 15, 2020
On July 15, 2020, Governor Bullock announced a mandatory face covering directive for Montana counties with four or more cases. The governor's directive applies to everyone five years old and older. In places where there are differences between the local rule and order and the governor's directive, the more stringent requirement applies.
July 9, 2020
On July 9, 2020, the Missoula City-County Board of Health held a special meeting to review a Board proposed face-covering rule and Health Officer Order that if passed would require people 12 years of age and older to wear a face-covering when inside public spaces, including public transportation to reduce the spread of the pandemic disease COVID-19. The Board passed the rule with a unanimous vote and Health Officer Ellen Leahy immediately issued a companion order.
Effective immediately, a business, government office or person/corporate entity responsible for an indoor space open to the public shall:
- Require employees, contractors, volunteers, customers and visitors to wear a face covering within the building, and when entering and exiting, and within a shared vehicle, except as allowed in exceptions to the rule (listed below).
- Require employees who perform work in private homes to wear a face covering when other people are present.
- Provide face coverings to employees.
- Provide accommodations for employees, contractors, customers and visitors if required by State and federal disabilities laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which protects people with disabilities from discrimination in employment and requires employers to engage in the interactive process for accommodations.
- Post clearly visible signs at entry points that state “Mask or face covering use required for ages five and older.”
Exceptions to When Face Coverings Must be Worn.
- A face covering is not required for employees, contractors or volunteers when they are not interacting with the public and they can maintain six (6) or more feet of distance from other people.
- A face covering is not required when an individual is fully separated from other people by a protective barrier, such as when working alone in a separate office. A plexiglass shield that provides only partial protection between the public and an employee does not negate the requirement to wear a face covering.
- Individuals under the age of five are not required to wear a face covering, and should not wear a face covering if they cannot remove the face covering without help. Children under the age of 2 should not wear a face covering.
- A face covering is not required while eating or drinking.
- A face covering is not required when engaged in an activity that makes wearing a face covering physically impractical or unsafe, such as during strenuous physical exercise or when swimming.
Additional Health Officer Recommendation
It is the recommendation of the Health Officer and the Centers for Disease Control that everyone over the age of two use a cloth face mask when not in their own home. The narrower age limits and venues in this mandate are the minimally required actions regarding cloth face coverings or masks in Missoula County and are also intended to be one part among other mitigation measures for slowing the spread of COVID-19, including physical distancing, limited group sizes, sanitation and staying home when experiencing any of the signs or symptoms of COVID-19.