The Bellevue City Council voted on Friday to extend a public health emergency order until March 25. The order gives the mayor emergency powers to deal with effects from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I appreciate everyone’s regard for public safety,” Mayor Ned Burns said following the vote.

Burns invoked emergency powers on March 30 to increase isolation restrictions in the face of the pandemic, including a shutdown of nonessential construction projects, tighter travel restrictions to and from Blaine County and a prohibition on public gatherings of any size and gatherings of unrelated people inside homes.

Since then, the city has reopened but people in stores and other inside spaces are required to wear facemasks.

Burns said in an interview that one primary reason to extend the order was to make sure the city will be in line for reimbursements from the state and federal government for costs associated with the pandemic. He said the funds, which could amount to $25,000 or more, would be used to revamp operations at City Hall so it can be opened to the public, rather than continuing to use the walk-up window.

“This will be especially important in the winter,” he said.

Email the writer: tevans@mtexpress.com

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