By Mira Brody EBS STAFF
HELENA—At an April 22 press conference, Gov. Steve Bullock announced his plan for a phased reopening of Montana’s economy. On Sunday, April 26 the stay-at-home order in Montana will be lifted. Beginning Monday, April 27, main street retail businesses will be allowed to reopen and on Monday, May 4 restaurants and bars will be allowed to operate, all with capacity restrictions in place. Finally, on May 7, the remote learning directive placed on public schools will be lifted.
Still, Montanans will still be asked to practice social distancing and to refrain from gathering in groups larger than 10 people. Places of worship can operate at a reduced capacity, bars and restaurants will limit seating to 6 or fewer people per table, though those entities are asked to close no later than 11:30 p.m. Movie theaters, gyms and other venues where large gatherings occur will remain closed during this phase.
Gov. Bullock has refrained from putting an expiration date on Phase One but will monitor the COVID-19 situation in the state carefully alongside and with the guidance of public health officials. He cited Montana’s early and aggressive response rate to the state’s low case numbers—Montana has the lowest number of positive COVID-19 cases per capita in the country and the lowest number of hospitalizations in the nation.
Bullock reminded Montanans this isn’t the occasion to host a celebratory block party and that the virus is not gone from Montana. Everyone is asked to continue diligent hand washing, social distancing practices, working remotely, if possible, and to minimize unnecessary travel. Traveling in or out of the state is still limited to as well as visits to assisted living and other at-risk facilities.
For up-to-date information about the stay-at-home order and phase one of reopening, visit covid19.mt.gov.