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Big Sky Relief responds to reopening

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BIG SKY—At the April 28 Big Sky Relief Operational Partners coordination meeting, representatives presented status reports as well as operational adjustments in light of the county’s phased reopening.

Taylor Rose from the Bozeman Health Big Sky Medical Center announced that the facility is beginning to open services at 25 percent capacity, placing BHBMC in Phase 3 of incident command. The next phase will move capacity to 50 percent. A lab analyzer is currently on-site at the clinic and testing is available, but according to Rose, turnaround times will be delayed until testing media is made available to the facility.

Four additional rooms at BHBSMC are still currently under construction and are expected to be completed in the first full week in May. Rose said that BHBSMC is closely monitoring news from Yellowstone National Park and the broader tourism industry, as openings could place more pressure on the staff and facilities.

On the mental health front, Women in Action continues to offer counseling, and a potential grant could allow for an extension of free counseling services into May.

Other community resources continue to be made available through organizations like the Big Sky Community Food Bank, which has been supplying significantly more meals to a larger portion of the community than at this time last year. Throughout the summer, BSCFB announced that they may continue the curbside pre-packed pick-up model for an extended period of time.

Ciara Wolfe, Big Sky Community Organization CEO reported that after returning a portion of their resort tax appropriations from the Fiscal Year 20 allocation, BSCO is operating with 50 percent of typical maintenance staff in an attempt to be fiscally conservative. The organization currently has 63 registered volunteers working across five weekly shifts to support various community needs. As the warming temperatures unearth waste of all sorts, BSCO has organized trash pick-up days to keep trails and parks clean. Wolfe reported that the recent Runoff Cleanoff efforts, which were organized by BSCO in coordination with the Gallatin River Task Force, collected a total of 238 pounds of waste.

The Big Sky Chamber of Commerce continues to work to decipher additional national aid packages trickling down from the U.S. Congress. Most recently, BSCC is sorting through the additionally appropriated $484 billion intended for Economic Injury Disaster loans and advances, Payroll Protection Program loans, healthcare industry needs and testing advancements.

Despite the governor’s recent reopening strategy, which allows Montana school districts the choice to return to traditional learning environments beginning May 7, the Big Sky School District voted unanimously, at an April 24 board meeting, to continue distance learning for the remainder of the academic year, which is scheduled to end on May 29. Superintendent Dustin Shipman reported that lunch requests have increased and are up to 70-75 lunches per day and that 95 percent of BSSD staff is currently working.

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