Montana Health Officer: Anyone Not Having a Pink Wristband May Not Enter Your Business

OPINION

The health department in a small Montana community faced national outrage after they sent a flyer to local businesses telling them to ban any out-of-town citizen who was not wearing a pink wristband.

“Anyone who is from out of town or out of Valley County, staying here/working here, and has not completed the 14-day quarantine is REQUIRED BY THE VALLEY COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER ORDER to use curbside delivery only,” the flyer from the Valley County Health Department stated. “They are not to enter your business to shop.”

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“Anyone who is from out of town or out of Valley County who has a PINK wristband has been here 14 days or more and no longer needs to do the strict self-quarantine. They may enter your business,”

The story was first reported by the Montana Daily Gazette. 

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The newspaper called the health department’s decision “one of the most over-the-top and draconian responses to coronavirus yet seen in Montana.”

The health department told local business owners that if anyone does not comply they should immediately contact the police. They even provided a script.

“This is an example of what to say if you (sic) the person refuses to cooperate,” the health department stated. “You are violating our Governor’s and Valley County’s Health Officer’s orders. I am happy to shop for you with curbside delivery. I will get the items for you and bring them to your car. If you don’t cooperate, you will force me to call law enforcement.”

Fortunately, someone realized that the Valley County Health Department’s wristbands were rather similar to what Hitler mandated in Nazi Germany.

The Valley County Commissioners issued an apology as well as a clarification on Facebook.

“In response to significant public concern regarding out of county contractors who are present in our communities for essential work purposes, one of the companies partnered with the County Health Officer to wear pink wristbands following their 14- day quarantine,” the statement read. “This was implemented to help alleviate community concerns about the potential spread of COVID-19. These bands are not government issued and are not a part of any of the current health orders in place. Rather, they are a good faith effort by these contractors to try to put the community at ease.”

The statement continued:

“In a break-down of our internal processes, a flier went out to local business owners seemingly indicating such wrist bands are required for out of county individuals, and that local business owners were obligated to report violations of the health orders. That is not the intent of Valley County, and that flier has been rescinded,” the commissioners said. “We apologize, again, for any confusion this has caused. We are addressing our internal processes and want to thank all community members for continuing to work with us during this unprecedented time.”

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