A handful of protesters held signs along Orange Street near the Missoula City County Health Department on Thursday afternoon accusing officials of inconsistencies over their newly increased restrictions.

One protester named Angie, who had two young children with her, told KGVO News that parents need to have their children in school so that both parents can work.

“I don't know how many people are aware of the numbers that we have in Missoula, the way that it's affecting a lot of people,” said Angie. “It’s not simply COVID affecting them, but people who are also affected by shutdowns and from schools not being fully open. People can't go to work because they're homeschooling their kids. In regards to education, a lot of issues within abusive homes or homes with mental illness. Schools are a very good way for red flags so that trouble signs to be caught, and those aren't necessarily being caught right now.”

Angie also accused the health department of threatening to close businesses because they chose to honor the governor’s rule allowing people in their stores who have legitimate mask waivers.

“Small businesses are being harassed,” she said. “Natural Grocers is being harassed; Tractor Supply Company is being harassed or being threatened with a lawsuit. They're being threatened with being locked down, keeping in mind that the governor's mandate and section four it allows for medical exemptions, and that section five talks about enforcement and it says that businesses are allowed to take the medical exemptions on good faith.”

None of the protesters were wearing masks, although they were outdoors and were for the most part socially distanced.

One lone individual on the other side of the street, Hudson Therriault, was there to counter protest in favor of the health department’s work during the COVID pandemic.

“I mean very, very busy is one of the greatest understatements of the day,” said Therriault of the people inside the building. “I know that my mom specifically is putting in an unbelievable amount of overtime, working really, really hard to make sure that not only everyone's safe but also making sure that the businesses are being cared for, and there's a lot of care and a lot of time and patience and consideration that goes into these orders. It isn't just, ‘let's lock everything down’, you know, and think about the specifics later. They're really trying to figure out how to keep businesses afloat.”

His mother is Shannon Therriault, the Director of Environmental Health, there to stick up for his mother and her staff at the Health Department.