Politics of a pandemic
Moves, countermoves and community safety
It has been an interesting year of politics amidst a pandemic. Gov. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) decided to roll-back the statewide mask mandate created by former Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, who termed-out and vied for a Senate seat. Gianforte’s move leans upon successful vaccine distribution which has seen supply-chain issues from the federal level – resulting in Gianforte urging President Joe Biden (D–Delaware) to increase Montana’s vaccine supply. The day after Gianforte announced the repeal of the statewide mask mandate, state medical officer Dr. Gregory Holzman submitted a letter of resignation.
This all comes as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) encourages the populace to wear not just one mask, but two. Also, President Biden is making his own moves, ordering maskwearing on all federal properties in late January. “It’s not a political statement, it’s a patriotic act,” he told Politico. Political strategist Brenda Steinhauser informed Politico in the same article that there will be state and private lawsuits as a result.
The Gallatin City-County Health Department voted to extend the county’s mask mandate to April 30. And tourism-driven communities – like Big Sky – are requesting continued vigilance and caution.
The collaborative effort known as Big Sky Relief allows for free ongoing communitywide surveillance testing and community leaders are urging residents to be tested weekly.
“We have done a great job flattening the curve in Big Sky. But this does not mean we are out of the woods yet. As we move through the upcoming busy holiday and spring break we need to remain diligent,” according to a Big Sky Relief update, with the goal of keeping Big Sky “safe, healthy and open for business.”
More information can be found at https://bigskyrelief.org