Bullock, Felton Targeting Small Business Owners
In a press conference today, Governor Steve Bullock joined Yellowstone County Public Health Officer John Felton to announce increased enforcement of health officer orders, along with a website for residents to file complaints.
"Just one business not complying with the public health measures, puts an increased risk on everyone else who is doing their due diligence to be safe and keep others safe," said Bullock. He continued to say the goal is to "make sure that businesses are following the measures we need to keep folks safe." If proper measures are being taken, we will "gladly drop the enforcement," said Bullock.
Governor Bullock announced the launch of a website that will allow Montana residents to report concerns about businesses and events not following the public health measures. Submissions that come through the website will be reviewed by the Montana DPHHS, and sent to appropriate local authorities for investigation, according to the Governor.
We can slow the spread of this virus, if we take it seriously. But, we need every Montanan to take it seriously. Because just one person with COVID-19 in the wrong place at the wrong time, can spoil the whole bunch. We've seen it from gatherings large and small where social distancing and masking aren't being followed. -Governor Steve Bullock
CLICK HERE to report concerns of COVID-19 guidelines not being followed.
Financial resources from Montana's coronavirus relief fund will be given to Yellowstone County officials, to assist in compliance of the public health order, according to Governor Bullock. "I've committed the state to covering the expenses to ensure that these dedicated officials in Yellowstone County can focus on what matters most, and that's slowing the spread of the virus," said Bullock.
At RiverStone Health, John Felton said they receive and document complaints from citizens regarding violations of the governor's order, and Yellowstone County public health officer orders. "Since the beginning of October 2020, we have received at least 176 complaints, and since the pandemic began in March we have logged more than 1,300 complaints," Felton said.
To help with enforcement of the governor's directives, and public health orders in Yellowstone County, John Felton said he worked with Governor Bullock to create a plan that includes hiring four "COVID Education Liaisons." These individuals would work in pairs, contacting the individuals or businesses to determine if the complaint is valid. If the complaint is not validated, no further action will be taken, according to Felton. If liaisons determine the complaint is valid, the business or individual will receive education about compliance and guidance on "how to demonstrate compliance."
Liaisons will let the individual or business know that an unannounced second visit will occur, and if compliance is still not being met at that time, evidence gathered by the liaisons will be given to county attorneys and public health officer.
CLICK HERE to find out more about the Public Health Officer Order for Yellowstone County.