“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (1) – 4/27/20
As Montanans rejoice at the prospect of a reopen, we need to manage expectations. As of April 26, houses of worship reopened, and on April 27, select Main Street businesses were permitted to follow suit. Such was the initiation of phase one of Gov. Steve Bullock’s reopen plans, a glimmer of light Bullock tempered with cold water: “The virus is still in Montana and will be with us for some time … That may mean we’re in phase one for some time,” he acknowledged on Friday. Indeed, there is no timeline to when the next phases will commence, and Bullock has said data— such as new cases, infection rates, death rates and other metrics policymakers have leaned on in past weeks—will play a role in his decision-making. According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, “When the bars and restaurants are allowed to open on May 4, the plan says patrons should not sit at bartops and that buffets, drink refills and self-service condiments should be eliminated. Tables should be limited to six people.” Tacking on mandatory closures at 11:30 p.m., this is a far cry from the old normal people socially distancing for weeks crave. Phase two, which will usher in relaxations on a number of those restrictions, and more, will not begin if Montana’s curve does not remain flattened, according to Bullock.