The Missoula County Health Board is now recommending that the public wear cloth face coverings.

COVID 19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr explains the recommendation.

“The health board is strongly recommending that all members of the public and all essential workers wear cloth face coverings when you are going to be out in public,” said Farr. “The reasons are that we know there are some instances whenever you’re out doing your essential business such as going to the grocery store or picking up your medication that’s it’s just not possible to maintain that six foot social distancing between the cashier at the grocery store or the pharmacist, but by strongly recommending people wear a cloth face covering that you are protecting both people.”

Farr emphasized that as of Thursday, the health board is making the request a strong recommendation, not an order.

“We do know that there are other parts of the country where it is being ordered, but we wanted to take the step of strongly recommending instead of just jumping directly to a requirement,” she said. “The Missoula public has been very responsive to all of our recommendations so far and we are confident that Missoulians will do everything possible to reduce the spread of COVID 19.”

The question was asked if a store owner could refuse entry or service if a customer did not have a mask or simply refused to wear one.

KGVO reached out to Missoula attorney Quentin Rhoades who stated that a store owner absolutely does has the right to refuse service or entry to his property to someone who was not wearing a cloth or any other kind if face covering, even though the policy is only a strong recommendation by the health board.