KALISPELL — Several Flathead County businesses are continuing to enforce a mask mandate and MTN News spoke with them to see why.
Gov. Greg Gianforte may have lifted the mask mandate but at Bias Brewing in Kalispell, a mask is still required.
“Now that the mask mandate has been removed, we're not changing the way that we're operating,” Bias Brewing co-owner Gabe Mariman explained.
Mariman says that even though the brewery is still enforcing masks, they are doing it to protect the community.
“We appreciate the rights of all Montana citizens but we're going to do what we feel is the right thing to do to protect the citizens of Kalispell and the Flathead Valley,” Mariman said.
Despite, the criticism, Mariman is still feeling community support.
“We've been overwhelmed with the support that the community is given us and I think that that's what makes Kalispell great that's what makes the Flathead Valley great,” Mariman told MTN News.
Down several blocks downtown at Montana Coffee Traders, they are also enforcing a mask requirement.
“We felt like the lifting of the mask mandate was premature in relation to what is available to vaccinate our staff,” said Leslie Hunt with Montana Coffee Traders.
To keep the brews boiling and piping hot, the coffee shop will continue enforcing masks until staff can receive the vaccine.
“We feel like it's important to do what we can to keep our staff and customers safe,” Hunt stated.
Meanwhile, whether it’s an icy cold IPA or a steaming espresso, Mariman says to remain positive.
“We're going to go forward through this and come out the other side and we wouldn't have without the support of the community,” Mariman told MTN News.
The businesses have seen some push back but Mariman and Hunt say it has not escalated due to the statewide mask mandate have been removed.