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"Re-opening The Big Sky" plan highlights

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Posted at 9:46 PM, Apr 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 13:56:33-04

GREAT FALLS — Governor Steve Bullock announced last Wednesday a three-phase plan to "re-open" Montana, as closures and restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 will be gradually rescinded.

Among the highlights of the plan is that many retail businesses can become operational beginning on April 27, and restaurants, bars, casinos, and breweries can become operational beginning on May 4 in accordance with the guidelines listed below. Scroll down for links to the complete plan and key points.

  • The "stay at home order" expired on Sunday, April 26 for individuals and will expire on Monday, April 27 for many businesses. Retail businesses can become operational on or after April 27 if they can adhere to requirements to limit capacity and maintain strict physical distancing.
  • Restaurants, bars, breweries, and distilleries can begin providing some in-establishment services beginning May 4.
  • Businesses where groups gather without the ability to social distance including movie theaters, gyms, and other places of assembly remain closed.
  • Places of worship can become operational on Sunday, April 26 in a manner consistent with social distancing between people who are not members of the same household.
  • On May 7, all schools will have the option to return to in-classroom teaching delivery at the discretion of local school boards. The Directive does not preclude school boards from declaring local emergencies to continue to receive all appropriate state funding to continue to provide remote learning. NOTE: Great Falls Public Schools superintendent Tom Moore told KRTV on Monday that the Board of Trustees has not yet decided whether to resume on-campus classes; he expects a decision to be made on Monday evening during a meeting.
  • Montana’s travel quarantine will remain in effect and out of state travelers and residents arriving from another state or country back to Montana for non-work related purposes are required to quarantine for 14 days.

The plan includes several phases and highlights the factors that will determine when it is appropriate to move to the second phase of reopening. That decision will be driven by conditions on the ground and the latest data, according to Bullock. There is no estimate at this point on when the second phase will begin.

Here is a summary of some of the key points of the first phase:

PHASE ONE: SPECIFIC TYPES OF EMPLOYERS/ACTIVITIES

  • RESTAURANTS / BARS / BREWERIES / DISTILLERIES / CASINOS can become operational on or after May 4, under strict physical distancing and reduced capacity protocols in accordance with State guidelines. All patrons must be out of bars, restaurants, and casinos by 11:30.
  • RETAIL BUSINESSES can become operational on or after Monday, April 27, with reduced capacity and where strict physical distancing protocols can be maintained.
  • GYMS / POOLS / HOT TUBS remain closed.
  • PERSONAL CARE (SALONS, MASSAGE, BODY ART, ETC.) Operations that require close personal contact for an extended period result in exposing staff and customers to greater levels of risk. These situations require additional safety and health precautions. Stylist / artist / service-provider and customer would be a “station” that would be 6 feet away from other “stations”. • Provide for 6 feet of physical distancing between stations, this may require: • A reduction in capacity; • Increasing spacing, removing stations, or marking stations as closed; • Providing for a physical barrier between stations; • A reduction of seating in service and waiting areas; or • Systems that reduce the amount of contact time between customers and staff.
  • SENIOR LIVING OR ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES must continue to prohibit visitors. Those who do interact with residents and patients must ensure strict protocols regarding hygiene and protection are followed. This includes daily screening of staff for symptoms and preventing ill workers from working.
  • OUTDOOR RECREATION can become operational if sites adhere to strict physical distancing between groups and exercise frequent sanitation protocols if public facilities are open.
  • PLACES OF WORSHIP can become operational on or after Sunday, April 26, with reduced capacity and where strict physical distancing protocols can be maintained between non-household members.
  • OTHER PLACES OF ASSEMBLY shall remain closed (e.g., movie and performance theaters, concert halls, bowling alleys, bingo halls, and music halls).

The above information is just a brief summary of key points; click the links below for more details.

As of Sunday morning (April 26), there have been a total of 448 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Montana, an increase of three since Saturday. The three new cases are: a Glacier County male in his 60s; a Glacier County female in her teens; and a Yellowstone County female in her teens.

  • There have been 14 deaths in Montana to date. There have been six deaths in Toole County, two in Cascade County, two in Flathead County, and one each in Lincoln County, Madison County, Missoula County, and Yellowstone County.
  • There have been a total of 339 recovered patients to date. The number of recoveries by county has not been released at this point.
  • There have now been 61 hospitalizations to date of COVID-19 patients in Montana; 11 of those are considered "active (current) hospitalizations."
  • The DPHHS public health lab has completed 12,862 tests for COVID-19, including 365 tests since Saturday's update.
  • Click here to see the current total of confirmed cases by county

THE REBOUND: MONTANA: We know the COVID-19 pandemic is changing our community. To keep you and your family informed as we move forward, we're beginning a new series of reports. They are stories that will help all of us navigate through these uncertain times. In the coming weeks and months, we'll be focusing on “The Rebound: Montana.” It is a series of reports, videos, and information that show our commitment to stories that will help you as our communities begin to rebound - from what you'll need to know when it's time to go back to work, to how those in the community continue to step up and help others.