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Cascade County: no COVID-19 cases, no formal restrictions on restaurants as of Tuesday

Posted at 11:08 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 01:10:57-04

GREAT FALLS — The Cascade City-County Health Department said that the Board of Health met on Tuesday evening to continue discussions about whether to order restaurants and/or other businesses to close.

Several counties in Montana have imposed restrictions on some businesses, primarily restaurants, bars, and other food-service operations. Affected counties include Missoula, Yellowstone, Bozeman, Butte-Silver Bow, and Hill; click here for details.

A press release from the CCHD on Tuesday evening says: "After considering impacts to both the health and economy of our community, the decision was made not to order businesses to close at this time." However, the CCHD also said that "bold measures" may be needed at some point, and "control measures may have to be be implemented quickly or with no warning as the COVID-19 situation evolves."

They recommend that businesses begin preparing to modify their daily operations or even close temporarily, and said that businesses consider the following options:

  • Close any areas where large groups could congregate or would be in unavoidably close vicinity to each other (e.g. private dining rooms or meeting rooms)
  • Determine alternate ways of providing services like take-out, delivery, or drive-thru
  • Change face-to-face or walk-in services to be conducted by phone or email
  • Let employees work remotely whenever possible, especially older or high-risk employees
  • Hold meetings virtually whenever possible
  • Distance employees from each other by rearranging workspaces
  • Send sick employees home & develop generous sick leave policies as possible
  • Research online services your business could provide

There are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Great Falls or Cascade County, but there are nine confirmed cases in Montana as of Tuesday evening.

Publicly released information about the nine confirmed COVID-19 cases in Montana:

  • Missoula County: man in his 20s
  • Yellowstone County: woman in her 20s
  • Gallatin County (2): man in his 40s, and man in his 20s; both recovering at home; both acquired through international travel
  • Yellowstone County: woman in her 50s; recovering at home; acquired through international travel
  • Butte-Silver Bow County: man in his 50s; recovering at home; acquired domestically in affected areas out of state
  • Broadwater County: man in his 50s; recovering at home; acquired domestically in affected areas out of state
  • Missoula County (2): a man in his 50s, and a woman in her 30s