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Yellowstone County’s top health official rescinded that county’s health orders on Thursday after Gov. Greg Gianforte signaled he would roll back the statewide mask mandate.
John Felton, the Yellowstone County Health Officer, said during a Thursday press conference that the county’s mandates, which were stricter than statewide orders, would immediately be rescinded. Those included gathering size limits that extended to churches, places of worship and other businesses like salons and gyms.
The county will still be subject to all statewide health orders, Felton said.
Felton said he made the move “out of respect for Governor Gianforte’s authority to manage the pandemic according to his policies,” while also saying new daily COVID-19 cases have dropped from a peak of 106 per 100,000 people just before Thanksgiving to 34 per 100,000 last week.
Gianforte earlier this week said he planned to cancel the statewide mask mandate and would consider reversing other health orders that limited gathering sizes and operation hours for some businesses.
The move comes as at least one other municipal government in Montana, the city of Whitefish, on Monday passed a three-month mask mandate to take effect when Gianforte rescinds the state’s mask mandate.
MTFP’s roundup of the week’s key action in the 67th Montana Legislature, from the state budget to tax policy and energy bills.
Montana’s Senate voted unanimously Friday to override the first veto issued by Gov. Greg Gianforte, defending a bill that would make it easier for the Legislature to repeal administrative rules issued by state agencies.
A pair of legislative proposals would rewrite how the state funds educational opportunities for students. Supporters say they want to give Montanans more choices, while opponents argue the changes threaten to steer public dollars to private religious institutions.