The Gallatin County Health Board passed its own mask/face covering mandate on Friday that dovetails with Governor Bullock's directive issued last week, forcing people to wear masks/face coverings where they can't social distance in public places.

Despite pushback against instituting a local mask mandate from several dozens of residents who spoke via Zoom, the Health Board passed the local mask mandate overwhelmingly in a virtual meeting, 7-2.

This rule will help us slow down the spread of COVID-19 without shutting down businesses or slowing our economy,” said Matt Kelley, Gallatin County Health Officer. “Face coverings are inexpensive, safe, and can help make our community safer by slowing down the virus.”

Some differences between the governor's & Health Board's directive include:

  • face covering requirements in schools for students grades 6-12 and on construction sites when social distancing is not feasible.

Masks are not mandatory, although they are recommended, for kids in grades 5-under. That rule will be left to individual schools and districts to decide.

The measure does include some exceptions:

  • Children under the age of 5 are not required to wear a mask. Those trying to communicate with people with hearing loss, and people with medical or behavioral health conditions that would be exacerbated by face coverings are also exempt.
  • The mask rule does not apply to people inside their homes or residences.

You can read the rules that the Health Board passed in their entirety below.

In the five-plus hour meeting, the Board also voted to extend a local emergency rule that requires people who have tested positive for COVID-19 to remain in isolation until they are no longer contagious. This passed 8-1. The rule also requires quarantine of those who are identified as close contacts of known cases and those who are symptomatic and awaiting test results.

Those in isolation can quarantine in their home or in a government directed or publicly provided location.

 

Both mask & isolation rules are in effect until Oct. 22, 2020.