In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Governor Steve Bullock issued a directive that requires face masks in public places in counties with four or more active COVID-19 cases throughout the state of Montana.

Residents in counties with four or more active cases are required to wear face masks in some public settings. The order is effective immediately.

Bullock's directive also requires that face masks be worn at outdoor gatherings with 50 or more people when distancing is not possible.

The purpose of the directive is to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Montana. There are a few exceptions to the directive, including people eating of drinking in a restaurant, and when communicating with someone who is hearing impaired.

In counties with four or more active cases, all businesses, government offices open to the public shall require and take reasonable measures to ensure that all employees, contractors, volunteers, customers, or other members of the public wear a face covering that covers their mouth and nose at all times while entering or remaining in any indoor spaces open to the public. All points of entry open to the public shall have a clearly visible sign posted stating: “Mask or face covering use required for ages five and older.”

Some cities in Montana are already requiring face masks. Missoula and Whitefish have implemented face mask requirements. In Gallatin County, health officials will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00 a.m. on Friday to discuss a mask requirement in Gallatin County.

Click here to view the entire directive.