Gov. Bullock announces plan to welcome summer visitors to state
By Mira Brody EBS STAFF
At a May 19 press conference, Gov. Steve Bullock outlined Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan which will begin June 1, nearly one month from when Montana entered Phase 1. Phase 2 guidelines discourage gatherings in groups of more than 50 people where social distancing cannot be achieved, will allow for bars, restaurants, casinos and gyms to operate at 75 percent capacity, allow bowling alleys to reopen, while also lifting the 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travel and incoming visitors.
Gov. Bullock is working with Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly on reopening the north, northeast and west entrances to the park and anticipates they will have a plan in place by June 1. Gov. Bullock also plans to work with gateway communities to properly deal with the influx of tourism in the summer months as those entrances open by establishing test centers and surveillance systems to trace community spread.
“Montana has truly been an example for the rest of the nation in our response to this global pandemic, I have no doubt we can continue to be that example,” said Gov. Bullock. “We appreciate our visitors and we want to make sure those visitors don’t bring problems from their home state to our home state.”
He said in the coming weeks businesses and those planning events should work with public health officials to determine if they are within Phase 2 guidelines and that an event’s cutoff threshold is up to leadership based on current circumstances in that community.
“We cannot prevent all COVID-19 cases but there are things that we can do to allow Montanans some sense of a normal life and prevent major outbreaks or overwhelming our state’s healthcare system,” said Gov. Bullock.
Under Phase 2, the following guidelines will remain the same: all those with underlying health conditions should continue to self-isolate, nursing homes will continue to discourage outside visitors, employers should encourage telework when feasible and all individuals should practice social distancing and good hygiene.