Park County COVID restrictions remain in place despite governor's directive

Sam Klomhaus – Enterprise Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Although Gov. Gianforte recently removed COVID-19 restrictions on gathering sizes and capacity at small businesses statewide, Park County’s restrictions remain in place.

Gatherings in Park County are limited to 50 people, and bars, restaurants, breweries and casinos are limited to 75% capacity, according to Park County Health Officer Dr. Laurel Desnick.

Desnick said Tuesday there are no restrictions on closing times in Park County at this time, but most bars are voluntarily abiding by a 10 p.m. or midnight closing time.

Gianforte’s Jan. 13 directive removing the restrictions states local governments can enact measures that are more restrictive than those at the state level, but not less restrictive.

The county is still finishing up vaccine phase 1A, Health Department Director Alex Baukus told the Park County Commissioners Tuesday.

Phase 1A includes front-line health care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff.

Gov. Gianforte’s office announced Tuesday 57,221 vaccine doses have been administered in Montana, and 9,408 Montanans have been fully immunized.

Desnick told the County Commissioners the Health Department will initially focus on those ages 80 and older during phase 1B, which includes the elderly, people with certain chronic illnesses and other high risk groups such as Native Americans.

The Health Department has reached out to various groups around the county that work with the 80-plus- age group, Desnick said, and has had success, with “hundreds” of people in that age group getting on a list kept by the department.

Desnick said she isn’t sure when the department will be able to start vaccinating those people, but will do so as soon as possible.