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Cascade County law enforcement officials clarify "stay at home" directive

Cascade County law enforcement officials clarify "stay at home" directive
Posted at 4:50 PM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-28 01:24:20-04

GREAT FALLS — Law enforcement officials in Great Falls said in a news conference on Friday afternoon that they strongly encourage community members to adhere to Governor Steve Bullock's order and stay within their homes, unless there is a critical need to leave the residence.

Bullock issued the order on Thursday as Montanans continue efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronvirus).

Based on the news conference, it is clear that people can leave their homes to get groceries, buy food from a restaurant, go to medical appointments, provide care for others, and other activities that are deemed essential. They can also drive around and enjoy the outdoors, but officials stressed that maintaining a "social distance" of at least six feet from other people is critical.

The news conference was conducted by Cascade County Attorney Josh Racki, Great Falls Police Chief David Bowen, Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter, and Montana Highway Patrol Captain Sager. Scroll down to watch the video (or click here).

They explained what the governor's order meant in terms of law enforcement actions. They said that travel throughout Great Falls and Cascade County is not restricted, and officers will not be stopping people simply to make them justify their travel. Law enforcement officers will continue to conduct proactive patrols, respond to calls for assistance, and make traffic stops when appropriate.

They also noted that the City of Great Falls does have a curfew for minors, and has for years; it states that people under the age of 18 must be inside by midnight on Friday and Saturday nights, and by 11 pm Sunday through Thursday. Officers have recently encountered several minors out in the community late at night, and continue to educate them, and their parents, about the curfew.

The Cascade County Adult and Juvenile Detention Centers are operating normally and accepting bookings of felony and misdemeanor offenses. Even if you are ill, you may still be arrested and booked into the Detention Center, under quarantine.

If a community member is experiencing a medical, fire, or law enforcement emergency they should call 911. Other crimes may be reported by calling the non-emergency line at 406-727-7688 extension 5.

Governor Bullock's order directs Montanans to stay home and temporarily closes all nonessential businesses and operations as efforts to curtail the spread of COVID-19. The order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, March 28, and will be in effect through Friday, April 10. Click here for complete details. The directive also prohibits all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a household or place of residence.

The order does not prohibit restaurants from continuing to offer take-out, curb-side, and delivery service. Click here for a list of Great Falls restaurants offering such service.

Employees who are not sure if they are considered essential should talk with their manager/business owner. Business owners with questions can call at 1-800-755-6672 and leave messages 24-hours a day and will receive a prompt response, according to Bullock.

*CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL TEXT OF THE DIRECTIVE*

As of Friday evening (March 27), there are 121 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Montana.

Here is a list of counties with the most confirmed cases: Gallatin 42; Yellowstone 23; Missoula 8; Butte-Silver Bow 7; Cascade 7; Lewis & Clark 7; Flathead 6. Officials in Montana are keeping a list of confirmed cases in the Treasure State on an updated map and website - click here to visit the site.

There are seven confirmed cases in Cascade County: two women in their 20s; one man in his 30s; and two women and two men in their 50. The City-County Health Department in Great Falls said on Friday that the latest Cascade County case is a man in his 50s who tested positive for COVID-19 in another Montana county. Because the patient is a resident of Cascade County, he is classified as a Cascade County case, and Cascade County now appears on the official state maps as having seven cases of COVID-19. The CCHD said that the man, has not been in Cascade County for several weeks so he could not have acquired the disease here and has not exposed anyone else here. He will continue to be isolated in the county where he tested positive.

There have now been seven hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in Montana, according to the state Coronavirus Task Force. The DPHHS public health lab in Helena has completed more than 2,680 tests for COVID-19.

Bullock on Thursday afternoon issued a directive requiring Montanans to stay home and temporarily closes all nonessential businesses and operations as efforts to curtail the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) continue. The order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, March 28. Click here for complete details.

The order will be in effect through Friday, April 10, and requires all businesses and operations in Montana, except for essential businesses and operations as defined in the directive, to stop all activities within the state. The Directive also prohibits all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a household or place of residence.

The order does not prohibit restaurants from continuing to offer take-out, curb-side, and delivery service. Click here for a list of Great Falls restaurants offering such service.

Employees who are not sure if they are considered essential should talk with their manager/business owner. Business owners with questions can call at 1-800-755-6672 and leave messages 24-hours a day and will receive a prompt response, according to Bullock.

*CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL TEXT OF THE DIRECTIVE*

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