At its regular Thursday meeting, the Missoula County Board of Health voted to relax some of the restrictions placed on groups, churches and businesses.

And..there may be good news for Grizzly Football fans, but we'll address that later.

Shannon Therriault, Director of Environmental Health at the Missoula City County Health Department provided details of the changes made, since Missoula has been able to maintain fewer than 25 per 100,000 COVID cases over the past several weeks.

“Retailers and gyms and places of assembly were limited to 50% capacity, and so now with the new rule that the board adopted yesterday, they can increase their capacity so they don't have to limit it to 50% of the people that they would normally have in there,” said Therriault. “However, they still have to take the measures to ensure that their clients or customers or visitors can stay six feet from unassociated parties, or people that they didn't come in with.”

Therriault said the health department has been working closely with several organizations to find a way for more people to attend events.

“Based on the numbers that we have, because we did a lot of talking with the hockey folks and really appreciated their input as well as some other sports, and the board approved an increase to 50 people inside,” she said. “That takes us back to the pre October restrictions, so we've been at the 50 group size before, but then 100 people outside and so there's evidence that shows that the transmission of COVID really is higher inside than outside and we wanted the rules to reflect that science.”

Therriault also addressed crowd sizes at local churches.

“If a service was going to have more than 25 people in it, then they would need to ensure that that all unassigned non-associated groups were at least six feet apart,” she said. “Now churches like other like other types of businesses and circumstances and events can have group sizes of up to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors where they're not keeping that six feet apart.”

Therriault also addressed a topic of interest to all Montana Grizzly football fans, allowing crowds at Washington Grizzly Stadium.

“Right now you can have events that have more than 100 people outside, but you just have to make sure that the that no more than 100 people would come within six feet of each other,” she said. “There may be ways to do that within a very large space like the stadium where they could have spectators in the stands.”


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