Montana Gov. Steve Bullock on Wednesday signed an executive order mandating that residents in certain counties must wear facial coverings while in public in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19.
“Effective immediately, face coverings will be required in certain indoor spaces and for certain organized outdoor activities in counties currently experiencing four or more active cases of COVID-19 to slow the spread of the virus in Montana,” Bullock, a Democrat, wrote in a tweet.
The directive requires masks in indoor spaces open to the public and at organized outdoor activities of 50 or more people, in situations where social distancing is not possible.
Counties with three or fewer active cases are exempt from the mask-wearing mandate, as are children under 5 years of age. In both cases, however, facial coverings “are strongly encouraged,” the governors office said in a statement.
Other exceptions include while eating or drinking at bars and restaurants, while engaging in exercise, speaking in front of a socially-distanced audience, or for people with health conditions that would make it unsafe for them to wear a mask.
“Many Montanans answered the call to mask up—a call that came from our hospitals, nurses, and doctors, our vibrant small business community, our frontline workers, and our high-risk neighbors,” Bullock said in a statement. “I thank all of those who take seriously their personal responsibility and their role in stopping COVID-19. But we need even more Montanans, and the visitors who come here, to mask up.”
President Donald Trump and public health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday recommended Americans to wear masks when necessary to prevent the spread of the potentially deadly bug.