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Gallatin City-County health board considers Governor Bullock's reopening rules

Posted at 11:00 AM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 13:00:28-04

BOZEMAN — The Gallatin City-County Board of Health met Thursday morning, a day after hearing Governor Bullock’s recommendations about reopening businesses and schools across the state.

The main focus: consider a final date to extend the local emergency rule in Gallatin County for businesses to follow the same model as the governor.

Gallatin City-County health officer Matt Kelley says before Bullock’s address, his recommendation was going to be to extend that date until April 30.

But the board amended that, instead setting that date concretely for midnight Saturday night.

Kelley took the board back to the beginning -- when the first case was found during the week of Valentine’s Day.

Since then, he says nursing staff, the hospitals, caches of PPE equipment have all increased in capacity.

But as the numbers of deaths climb -- nationwide -- Kelley says the reopening is just the beginning of a long road.

“46,497,” Kelley said, indicating a number on a slide during his presentation. “That’s the number of people we’ve lost to the disease as of (Wednesday) night when I finished this presentation. It’s important that when we work together, we unify to find that new normal but it is also important that we recognize that we are in a pandemic. We are still in the midst of a pandemic and we will be for some time.”

Kelley says while the extension was approved, the board still has to consider strategies that could include enforcing employees to wear masks, enforcing social distancing in restaurants and how that all could be done in businesses like salons and bars.

He says isn’t ready to make those recommendations just yet.