Health officer inspecting Bozeman Bar says an employee pushed him out the door

Kaleida Health updates visitor guidelines for non-COVID patients

Bar IX didn’t respond to requests for comment. “There were people shoulder-to-shoulder, standing on tables, standing on the bar.” Bozeman police have confirmed they’ve received Kelley’s complaint and are investigating the incident, but were unable to release more details.

“And he just was hearing none of it, and just shoved me out the door onto the street.” Kelley says an employee of Bar IX shoved him out the door after he identified himself as the health officer checking to see whether people inside the business were following health guidelines.

At the time of the inspection, around the end of April, Gallatin County was considering changes to its social distancing and mask requirements. Kelley says Bar IX was operating like there wasn’t an ongoing pandemic. Health officer Matt Kelley says he was pushed out of a local bar during an inspection looking into a growing number of COVID-19 infections among younger people. 

Source Health officials in Montana have borne the brunt of enforcing guidelines meant to slow the spread of coronavirus. Several have resigned citing harassment or lack of support throughout the pandemic.

The Republican-led legislative session passed bills removing local authority to enact ordinances, like mask requirements at businesses. Legislators claimed that former Gov. Steve Bullock and local health officials overstepped their power by enacting and enforcing those policies. Kelley says the incident is concerning and that someone can get hurt if legislative leadership continues to use words like “tyranny” to describe the work public health officials do.

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