(UPDATE, MARCH 18) The Great Falls Gun and Antique Show scheduled for March 19-21 has been canceled.
The organizer posted on the event website: "Because of the COVID-19 virus, the show scheduled for March 19-21 has been CANCELED!" The announcement also noted that, as of now, they still plan to hold the April 24-26 show.
On Tuesday, the organizer said that he still intended to have the show, saying they would take precautions and encourage "social distancing" and having people wear gloves and using hand sanitizer.
That announcement was met with sharp criticism by many people, including on the KRTV Facebook page:
- Dianne Hubbard Meinhardt: I am shocked and disappointed at this decision. Every precaution other businesses in this town are taking - at their own expense - can go down the drain. Totally irresponsible. Reschedule the event.
- Patsy O'Connor Medved: Unfortunately this show will not only attract locals but people from all over. It's time to think about the health of our community! Postpone, reschedule or cancel for our sake!!
- Toni Pullum Quinn: You are freaking kidding me. It’s not that you will get sick, it’s that you will make someone else sick who is making all the right choices.
- Karen Korst: Yep makes sense, close schools, all outside sports events, drive up only, but dang it we’ll have that gun show no matter what.
- Vicki Gondeiro: This is just plain irresponsible and selfish !!
- Teri Quinlan: We all have a responsibility to practice social distancing.
- Dawn Mays: As a vendor for several years in the Midwest at gun shows, I can tell you that you are being completely irresponsible! YOU ARE PUTTING ALL OF YOUR VENDORS AT RISK!
Some people supported the decision to keep the show open:
- Ashlee Liedle: Lol just stay home... problem solved.
- Brendan Gallagher: Might find some good deals since no one will be there. We are all going to get exposed eventually.
- Sherry Brown Stearns: Then DONT go! That was easy!!! I'll be there supporting our town.
(1st REPORT, MARCH 17) As of Tuesday afternoon, the annual Great Falls Gun and Antique show is still on, despite many other events and businesses in the community opting to cancel or postpone due to growing concerns about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The event will be Thursday (3pm-7pm), Friday (9am-6pm), and Saturday (9am-3pm) at the Montana ExpoPark.
The show includes buy, sell, trade, ammunition, Indian and Western artifacts, knives, glassware, collectibles and more.
Event organizers say they are taking precautions and will encourage "social distancing" the show and having people wear gloves and using hand sanitizer.
All children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Click here for ticket information and other details.
- Several Montana counties close bars and limit restaurant service
- Bullock directs two-week closure of public K-12 schools in Montana
- Two COVID-19 cases confirmed in Missoula County; total in Montana is now six
- How the coronavirus closure will affect Great Falls Public Schools
- Officials in Cascade County address coronavirus concerns
- CDC: Cancel or postpone all events with more than 50 people for next 8 weeks
- St. Patrick's Day parade and other events canceled due to coronavirus
The City-County Health Department in Great Falls says that as of 7 p.m. on Monday, March 16, there are NO confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cascade County. More than 20 samples have been sent to the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services (DPHHS) lab in Helena to date, and all have come back negative.
Trisha Gardner, the CCHD Health Officer said that Cascade County “anticipates sending samples daily” from healthcare providers to both state and commercial labs. “It’s excellent news that we still don’t have COVID-19 cases in Cascade County,” Gardner says. “However, we are continuing to work with community partners to prepare our response and mitigation efforts.”
The CCHD also said that while several counties across Montana have decided to close or limit what services restaurants and bars can offer, Cascade County has opted not to issue an order to impose restrictions on such establishments at this time. “We will continue to monitor the situation closely, and will carefully weigh any decisions with the potential to create significant economic impact and disruption," said Gardner. Click here to see the list of Montana counties that have implemented restrictions.
Governor Steve Bullock on Monday evening said that there are two new positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Montana, bringing the total number of cases in the state to eight.
- The new Missoula County patient is a man in his 20s
- The new Yellowstone County patient is a woman in her 20s
The tests, conducted by the DPHHS Public Health Laboratory in Helena, were confirmed Monday evening. State and local public health laboratories are no longer required to send “presumptive positive” samples to CDC for confirmation. From now on, respiratory samples positive for SARS-CoV2 in a state and public-health laboratory will be considered “positive” with no need for further testing. DPHHS and the county health departments are immediately following up to learn more details about the two individual’s exposure risk, travel history, and to identify and communicate with anyone who may have been in close contact with the patients. No other information about the patients has been released. All patients will be isolated or quarantined pursuant to public health guidelines. Those who came into close contact with the individuals will be monitored for 14 days for fever and respiratory symptoms per CDC guidance.
This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in Montana to eight. The six previously-announced cases in Montana are:
- Gallatin County: man in his 40s; recovering at home; 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 who sought care in Lewis and Clark County; recovering at home; acquired domestically in affected areas out of state
- Missoula County: a man in his 50s, and a woman in her 30s
As of Monday, March 16, DPHHS has tested a total of 311 people for COVID-19; eight of those results have been positive, and 303 have been negative The state currently has the capacity to test approximately 850 more people, and anticipates receiving more tests from the CDC as needed. Click here to visit the DPHHS website. DPPHS says that COVID-19 testing is available 7 days a week; for information about testing, call 1-800-821-7284.