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"GF Take Down & Take Out" aims to support Great Falls restaurants

Posted at 11:56 AM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 09:47:25-04

Two Great Falls residents are taking action to help restaurants keep going as the effects of restrictions caused by coronavirus (COVID-19) begin to take hold.

Beth Branam and her father Terry Hurley created a Facebook group called GF Take Down & Take Out. The "take down" refers to "taking down" the virus, and the "take out" means that people should support restaurants in and around Great Falls, all of which have been forced to close their dining rooms in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

They are "focusing on safely supporting local businesses *weekly* through GIFTCARD or TAKEOUT ORDER (which includes using delivery). Any Amount! Any little bit helps! We will feature where we are going each week and we will encourage you to support those businesses or ANY local small business you like!"

In just a few days, the group already has more than 2,400 members. “We were really amazed and just happy to see how supportive our community is and just what a great place we live in,” said Branam.

They encourage people to take and share photos in the group of take-out food that they are enjoying.

Click here if you would like to join the group.

Click here for a list of restaurants in Great Falls that are working to provide takeout and delivery options.

According to several health and safety organizations worldwide, including the federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 has spread through food or food packaging. Previous coronavirus epidemics likewise showed no evidence of having been spread through food or packaging.

The CDC website states: "Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety."

The USDA website states: "We are not aware of any reports at this time of human illnesses that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging. However, it is always important to follow good hygiene practices (i.e., wash hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature, and refrigerate foods promptly) when handling or preparing foods."

As of Monday morning (March 23), there are three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cascade County, and 34 confirmed in Montana. 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.

A spokesman for the Montana COVID-19 Task Force says that positive test results for Montana residents who are currently outside the state will not be included in the totals reported on the website, and said: "The state recognizes that its reporting totals will differ from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) total as a result of these reporting processes." Experts still believe the true number of people infected with COVID-19 remains much higher than the number of confirmed cases.