Governor tightens COVID-19 restrictions in Montana

Posted at 5:43 PM, Nov 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-18 10:57:09-05

GREAT FALLS — Governor Steve Bullock during a news conference on Tuesday announced a tightening of existing COVID-19 restrictions in Montana. The new rules will go into effect on Friday.

Masks will be required in all counties regardless of the number of active cases; the rule previously applied only to counties for four or more active cases.

In addition, capacity at restaurants, bars, and casinos will be reduced to 50%. A limit of six people per table will also go into effect. The businesses must close by 10 p.m.

Public gatherings will also be limited to 25 people where social distancing is not possible.

"We’re all sick of this virus. We all have to collectively recognize that this virus won’t stop spreading in our communities any time soon unless we take collective action soon,” said Bullock.

Bullock also announced he would direct unspent Coronavirus Relief Funds to assist businesses impacted by the restrictions, and provide $200 a week in additional unemployment benefits to Montanans for four weeks.

Click here to read the full text of the directive.

There were 1,500 new cases and 21 new deaths added to the total on the Montana COVID-19 tracking site on Tuesday morning; the data below is from the official Montana website on November 17:

  • CASES & RECOVERIES: 49,398 cumulative cases statewide; 29,105 people recovered
  • HOSPITALIZED: 456 active hospitalizations; 2,161 total hospitalizations
  • DEATHS: cumulative number of deaths is now 543
  • ACTIVE CASES: 19,750 active COVID-19 cases in Montana
  • TESTING: 10,494 new tests; cumulative total 583,828

Among the most recent deaths were people in Cascade County, Hill County, Glacier County, and Pondera County.

Numbers reported by the state each day occasionally differ from those reported by county public health departments due to periodic lag times in reporting data to the state. We encourage people to check the official website and/or Facebook page of their respective county health department for any information that is not yet included in the state's daily updates. Based on state and county data, MTN News reports a cumulative total of 566 deaths.

CONTEXT: Not every person who tests positive actually becomes ill or exhibits symptoms. Many do not; of those who do become sick, some experience mild symptoms and do not require hospitalization. Others, however, do require hospitalization, as noted in the daily update on the number of people hospitalized. However, every person who tests positive for COVID-19 has the potential to spread the virus to other people, including family members and friends, which is why public health officials continue to encourage everyone to wear a mask and maintain at least the recommended six feet of "social distance" when in public. The CDC released data in late August which emphasizes that people with contributing or chronic medical conditions are at much greater risk of dying from COVID-19. Click here to read more.