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A Message to the Community from Mayor John Muhlfeld

May 23, 2020

A message from Whitefish Mayor John Muhlfeld regarding visiting Whitefish as travel becomes available again.


April 23, 2020

Whitefish City Manager Dana Smith and Whitefish Mayor John Muhlfeld have details on the phased reopening plan for the State of Montana that was announced by Montana Governor Steve Bullock.


April 5, 2020

Whitefish Declares Short Term Lodging Emergency Ordinance

WHITEFISH, MONT. (April 5, 2020) — Today the Whitefish City Council passed an emergency ordinance prohibiting motels, hotels, short-term rentals, and other lodging facilities from accepting reservations or walk-ins for non-essential purposes during the COVID-19 emergency for stays through April 30, 2020. All existing reservations for non-essential purposes through April 30, 2020 must be canceled.

Mayor John Muhlfeld called the remote special session of the Whitefish City Council to conduct the public hearing over continued concerns of the possible spread of the COVID-19 virus. After receiving public comment, the emergency ordinance was passed unanimously.

“I called this special session because it was imperative to take this step in order to further protect the citizens of Whitefish from the COVID-19 virus,” said Mayor Muhlfeld. “Communities like Whitefish are especially vulnerable and I place the safety of our citizens as my highest priority.”

Previously, the City had requested voluntary compliance. A majority of Whitefish lodging properties had already temporarily closed and were not accepting bookings through April 30th.

“I want to thank the lodging community for what they have already done to help Whitefish. While we were encouraged by those voluntarily complying, I felt that any percentage still posed too high of a risk to our community,” continued Muhlfeld. “I am not willing to take any chances and our city council unanimously felt the same way.”

The ordinance excludes reservations for essential purposes including government, health care, law enforcement, domestic violence victims, personnel responding to the COVID-19 emergency, essential workers as defined by federal and state guidelines, family members of those seeking medical treatment, and those individuals who have a medical recommendation to quarantine outside of their home.

The ordinance is effective immediately. The City Manager is authorized to extend the April 30, 2020 deadline in accordance with federal state, and local guidance. Violation of this ordinance may result in revocation of the business license issued by the City of Whitefish.

The full language of the ordinance can be viewed here.


March 29, 2020

"Think about it this way... don't change your behavior to avoid being infected... assume you are infected and change your behavior to avoid transmitting it to others. The most vulnerable in our community are the most at risk of this virus, and symptoms often don’t show up for many days. PLEASE help us prevent the spread, flatten the curve, and protect our health care workers."

Here's a video update from Whitefish Mayor John Muhlfeld with information about Gov. Bullock's Stay-At-Home directive, what activities are allowed, and what businesses this applies to. There is also info pertaining to unemployment benefits, the Whitefish Community Foundation Emergency Response Fund, Whitefish Housing Authority Emergency Rental Assistance Fund grants, SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, school closures and more.


March 24, 2020


March 19, 2020


March 18, 2020
Dear Community of Whitefish,

While this pandemic is unprecedented, my experience in Whitefish has shown me the tough times are when our community shines the brightest. As we all face challenges on a daily basis, I am empathic to everyone’s unique state of affairs, knowing many families and businesses are under enormous stress during this rapidly changing situation. To date, we have no reported cases of the new coronavirus in Whitefish and we ask everyone to be vigilant in best practices in the hope we can remain fortunate. Please review and remind others to:

  • Practice “social distancing” by staying 6-feet from others and canceling gatherings of 10 people or more (no gatherings for immunocompromised people and/or 60+ years).
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue (or your elbow).
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay away from work, school, or other people if you become sick.
  • Contact your medical provider before going to their office.
  • Communicate with 911 operators if you are requesting ambulance service and have symptoms of a respiratory illness so that our first responders know to wear appropriate personal protection equipment.

As we pride ourselves on being welcoming, friendly, and community-oriented, we are encouraging our citizens to be extra compassionate, kind, and supportive to each other while maintaining safe, social distancing (remember, a minimum of 6-feet). As such, please consider the following:

  • We encourage residents to check on their elderly neighbors and to offer assistance when possible. Perhaps you could go grocery shopping for them to reduce their exposure and be sure they have adequate nutrition.
  • We encourage residents to patronize our local businesses by buying local and utilizing restaurant delivery or takeout.
  • We encourage residents to purchase gift cards to their favorite places to help our local shops get through a time of decreased business. And it’s never too early to shop for special occasions.
  • Consider a donation to the North Valley Food Bank or kid’s Backpack Assistance Program or a non-profit of your choice, to support those compromised during these tough times.

On Monday evening at our regularly scheduled meeting, the City Council adopted an emergency ordinance outlining various measures we are taking to slow the spread of Coronavirus, support our residents and local businesses, protect public health and the general welfare of the City, and ensure City services remain operational. We will provide updates on our website at http://www.cityofwhitefish.org/ and through our email notification system. If you would like to sign up for email notifications, you can do so at http://www.cityofwhitefish.org/city-hall/email-notifications.php or by visiting our website and clicking the link in the lower right-hand corner.

Thanks for being the compassionate and generous community I am honored to serve. Please take good care of one another.

With Kind Regards,

Mayor John M. Muhlfeld


A printable pdf version of this letter can be found here.


The latest information status of local services in and around Whitefish can be found here.

Whitefish City Manager Dana Smith has prepared a letter to Whitefish City Residents which can be found here.

Whitefish City Manager Dana Smith has prepared a letter to Whitefish Business Owners which can be found here.