mask mandate lifted

BILLINGS, Mont. - With Governor Greg Gianforte sworn into office, businesses and restaurants have been waiting patiently to see what changes will be made to the state mask mandate, among other restrictions.

Many restaurants are excited to see if certain guidelines are lifted, but are still concerned for the safety of their employees and customers in the coming months.

"Slow and steady vs. rip the band-aid off to me is a lot better off with where we are", says Owner of Stella's Kitchen & Bakery, Steve Wahrlich.

Steve Wahrlich is cautiously optimistic about the changes or even lifting of statewide restrictions.

"For us I assume see the masks stay for a while, let's get the restrictions lifted and get people vaccinated"   

Currently, restaurants are following guidelines put in place by former Governor Steve Bullock, which has masks mandated in every county with bars, restaurants and casinos capped at 50% capacity.

Governor Gianforte announced he plans to repeal the mask mandate, but not until enough of the vulnerable population has been vaccinated.

Wahrlich says he has no problem following new guidelines, but is frustrated with the lack of consistency on the restrictions.

"You eliminate the restrictions, then all of a sudden we have a spike and all of sudden we have to put restrictions back in so we go back and forth, it's extremely difficult on employees, it's difficult on my business because it takes so long to fine tune it to get good at what we're doing"

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