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Bullock says data will guide reopen decisions

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Twitter reacts with mixed feelings to reopening plans

“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (1) – 4/24/20

In an April 23 interview with MTN News, Gov. Steve Bullock said decisions pertaining to both Phase 1—with houses of worship reopening as early as April 26 and select retail locations reopening on April 27—and Phase 2 of the state’s reopen plans will rely heavily on data, specifically infection numbers. “Public health will be driving this,” Bullock told MTN News. “For Phase 2, we need to be looking at what is happening with additional COVID-19 positives. Is it around the state? Is it completely regionalized, or in one individual area?” Bars and restaurants around the state will begin to reopen, with mandated social distancing caveats, on May 4, and schools can reopen on May 7, pending local school boards’ decisions to do so. The governor has not given any notice as to when Phase 2—which would raise the recommended maximum size of gatherings from 10 to 50 people, and open gyms, pools and hot tubs—would kickoff. Phase 3 would lift out-of-state travel to Montana quarantine directives and allow visits to senior living facilities. “This is a rapidly, dynamic and changing time, so we have to see what’s happening on the ground in our communities as we talk about what the next steps are and when we might reopen our state entirely for out-of-state tourism,” he said. “At this point, we have to see what happens with Phase 1, to see how our communities react and how COVID-19 reacts.” Data will be supplemented by the state’s ability to effectively administer testing, and Bullock has acknowledged there will likely be an increase in cases following the initiation of Phase 1. Meanwhile, Montanans have taken the discussion to Twitter, where hundreds have expressed mixed feelings. Some select Tweets, below, compiled by the Great Falls Tribune:

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