After Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen announced on Thursday that he was ordering Gallatin County to dismiss its case against the Rocking R Bar in Bozeman, County Attorney Marty Lambert issued a response:

"The State of Montana is not a party to the R Bar case. The Attorney General may lack authority to “order and direct” a county attorney to dismiss a case where a local government entity, and not the State of Montana, is the plaintiff.

The Attorney General’s letter cites a rule of civil procedure providing that all the parties may sign an agreement to dismiss a case. Today I talked to a party to the R Bar case, Health Officer Matt Kelley. Mr. Kelley does not agree to dismissal, so the rule cited by the attorney general cannot be employed to dismiss the case by noon on January 15, 2021.
As to the bellicose remarks in the Attorney General’s press release, the Governor’s January 13, 2021, Directive recognized that local health authorities may enact rules or orders more restrictive than the Governor’s.
My staff and I will continue to research the matter."
So, that's where it stands now between Gallatin County and the state of Montana. As for what happens now for local businesses, despite the Governor's new order to roll back COVID-19 restrictions, the Gallatin County Health Board has made it clear they expect local businesses to honor the health rules they have been under since November 6, 2020.
  • Bars, gyms, restaurants, and distilleries are to limit capacity to 50%. They must also close by 10 p.m.
  • Gatherings of individuals must be limited to no more than 25 people. This applies to indoor and outdoor events, although there are some exemptions (churches & schools).

The entire list of rules can be found by clicking here.

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