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Montana retailers, restaurants optimistic after mask mandate lifted

brad griffin and Russ.jpg
Posted at 6:11 PM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-12 20:11:05-05

The lifting of Montana’s mask mandate is another step closer to a return to normal for many businesses, and some are feeling optimistic about what could be ahead for the rest of the year.

The president of the Montana Retail Association, Brad Griffin, said Friday that confidence is coming back and people are more comfortable being out. He’s predicting big things ahead.

“Business is definitely starting to come back and once we get through this arctic blast that is blowing through here, I think we will see people really come out. There’s progress on the vaccination program. If Congress passes another stimulus, that is going to put a lot of money out into the economy again, so I'm very optimistic for this year. I think it is just going to come roaring back. This summer I think it is just going to be crazy,” said Griffin.

That would be a welcome relief for many businesses in Montana that were hit hard by the pandemic.

“It’s been gut-wrenching,” said Griffin. “Everybody was in the same boat and luckily our government has put a lot of money out into the restaurant community and into small businesses' pockets.”

Griffin is also hopeful that the next stimulus will include another round of money for restaurants, which will help them carry through until summer, tourism season, and hopefully an end to the pandemic.

“All of the money that has been put forth, most folks should make it through til summer when the best stimulus of all is going to be our consumers getting back out there spending their money,” Griffin said.

The Montana Retail Association is comprised of retailers of all sizes. It’s also the umbrellas organization for the Montana Restaurant Association, the Montana Tire Dealers Advisory Council, and the Montana Equipment Dealers Association.