BILLINGS, Mont. - During a press conference on Monday, Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton said a new health order would be issued if new cases of COVID-19 exceeded 565 cases in a seven day period.
On Friday, the reported cases of COVID-19 infections reached 598, exceeding the limit. The county also exceeded the weekly COVID-19 infection rate of 50 per 100,000 people, prompting County Health Officer John Felton to issues new restrictions for businesses.
"If we can't slow down the spread of disease, then our entire community is at extreme risk," said John Felton.
Bringing more restrictions to businesses, casinos and restaurants is not something Felton says he wants to do, understanding people's livelihoods are at stake.
Initially Felton planned to cap places of business at 25%, but after speaking with local restaurants, those restrictions have been dialed back.
"It's become clear that, that is not, even in the short term, not a sustainable level, and I think we're going to be able to make that a 50% capacity rather than 25," said Felton.
Felton mentioned any gathering, regardless if they are inside or outside, will be capped to 25 people, with social distancing and masking being required.
Employees at Sassy Biscuit are preparing for the new health order, but are hoping the community can do their part to get our businesses back on track.
"I've got cooks who are cooking on the line cooking over 150 degrees over ovens wearing masks, because it's consideration for the team, it's consideration for the community to try and keep everyone healthy, so that everyone can continue to work, so this doesn't just completely derail our community," said Katie Fillinger, Chef at Sassy Biscuit.
Felton did mention, during his press conference on Monday, community members not following these guidelines are contributing to the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
Two nurses who recently moved to Yellowstone County have seen first hand what this disease can do and say if people saw what they did, they would follow the guidelines.
"They would change their mind, I think if you watch someone suffocate you would wear that piece of cloth over your face," said Krista Vinson, Billings Resident.