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Whitefish City Council approves emergency ordinance ahead of Halloween

Downtown Whitefish (Photo: NBC Montana){p}{/p}
Downtown Whitefish (Photo: NBC Montana)

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Whitefish officials say it’s a destination for Halloween -- but what they don’t want to be is a destination for more COVID cases.

Whitefish City Council approved a motion Monday night on an emergency ordinance to enact restrictions over Halloween. The motion carried 5 to 1.

“The council wanted to make sure that we’re considering all options when it comes to public safety and public health during this pandemic,” Whitefish City Manager Dana Smith said.

That’s why some wanted an emergency ordinance.

The ordinance will go into effect Friday and end Saturday at midnight. Gatherings would be limited to no more than 10 people. Bars and restaurants would need to operate at 50% capacity and close by 11:30 p.m.

“The number of individuals sitting at a table would go from 10 to six, and no standing at the bars for service anymore – again, would be the phase 1 guidelines,” Smith said.

There are penalties for any individual or business who violates the ordinance. The violation would be a fine of up to $300, and $500 for repeat offenses.

But not everyone is a fan of the emergency ordinance.

Tom Zakka, a Whitefish resident, says he doesn’t understand the fuss over restaurants and bars when other places remain closed.

“It’s incredibly exaggerated. I’m not sure the reason to kick the kids out the library, cancel Halloween, you know, so every day is Halloween these days,” he said.

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