Montana - COVID-19 Covered

Montana

Total Cases: 479 (May 27)
Tests Administered: 33,834 (May 26)
Fatalities: 17 (May 27)
Testing:
  • There are 49 Emergency Operating Centers reported as open or partially open in the state of Montana. (April 1)
  • As of March 16, the state lab will be performing testing 7 days a week. (March 14)

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • Montana complies to the Department of Homeland Security classification of essential service designations, which includes those in the following fields: healthcare and public health, law enforcement, public safety, first responders, food and agriculture, energy, water and wastewater, transportation and logistics, public works, communications, information technology, community-based government operations, financial services, among others. (March 19)

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • Montana gyms, movie theaters and museums will be allowed to reopen Friday, May 15 as a part of the state’s phased reopening plan, but will be required to limit capacity, enforce social distancing, and adhere to sanitation requirements. (May 15)
  • Restaurants, bars, and casinos have reopened in Montana to a tepid response from customers and staff. Industry workers have expressed concerns about contracting COVID-19 from customers. (May 5)
  • Governor Bullock announced that places of worship and retail businesses will reopen by Monday, April 27, while restaurants and bars will remain closed until May 4. Movie theaters, gyms, and similar businesses will remain closed. (April 23)
  • Governor Bullock issued a directive to extend closures of non-essential businesses until April 24. (April 9)
  • Governor Bullock issued a Directive providing additional guidance on childcare facilities to ensure that Montana’s essential workers can receive access to childcare during the state of emergency, including limiting groups of children to 10 or fewer, limit the total number of children in a childcare facility to 24, and prioritizing the needs of children in the custody of Essential Businesses and Operations workers. (April 1)

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Governor Bullock announced that movie theaters, gyms, and museums in Montana will have the option to reopen on May 15 as part of the second phase of the state’s reopening plan as long as the businesses are adherent to the state’s strict capacity, social distancing, and sanitation guidelines. (May 8)
  • Montana announced the creation of nine grant programs that will provide $123 million in federal funding to Montana’s small businesses, nonprofits, health centers, and residents who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. They will begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday at covidrelief.mt.gov. Grant money is expected to reach Montanans by the end of May. (May 6)
  • Governor Bullock instated consumer protections to stop evictions, foreclosures, and cancellation of utility services including water, heating, and internet service during the COVID-19 outbreak. (March 31)
  • Governor Bullock announced a Directive to help keep rural and small hospitals open by allowing Montana hospitals and related facilities to receive financing from the Montana Facility Finance Authority Act. (March 31)
  • CMS approved Montana’s request for a Medicaid waiver, enabling Montana to “provide flexibilities in Medicaid provider screening and enrollment, forgo certain pre-admission screening and annual resident review assessments, lift prior authorization requirements, allow for reimbursement facility services in alternative settings, and extend fair hearing timelines.” (March 30)
  • Governor Bullock requested a waiver from the federal government to give Montana the regulatory flexibility to improve access to Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP services to address the urgent health care needs of Montanans. (March 26)
  • Montana’s Attorney General joined 32 other states in asking online retailers Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Walmart, and Craigslist to prevent price gouging on coronavirus-related products. (March 25)
  • Governor Bullock extended the payment and filing deadlines for 2019 individual income taxpayers to July 15. (March 20)
  • Governor Bullock announced that uninsured Montanans, who receive a recommendation from a provider, are eligible to receive coverage for COVID-19 testing and treatment. Under the governor’s emergency authority, state funds, with potential for federal funds, will be used to pay for COVID-19 testing and treatment costs for Montanans without health insurance. (March 17)

Business Support & Resources:

  • Governor Bullock’s emergency unemployment included a provision that could extend the time employers have to file wage reports and pay unemployment insurance contributions if the delay is related to COVID-19. (March 17)
  • The Governor announced that the Small Business Administration (SBA) approved Montana’s request for emergency small business loans, making Montana businesses eligible to apply for up to $2 million in 30-year loans with an interest rate of 3.75 percent. (March 17)

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Shelter-In-Place Orders:

  • No records found as of May 26.
  • Governor Bullock issued a stay-at-home order, effective 12:01 a.m. on March 28 through April 10. (March 26)
  • Governor Bullock extended the stay-at-home order until April 24 and urged all Montanans to wear masks to protect against the spread of the virus. (April 8)

Curfews:

  • No records found.

Social-Distancing Guidelines:

  • Governor Bullock announced that the state would enter into Phase 2 of its reopening plan on June 1. Restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, casinos, gyms, indoor fitness classes, pools, and hot tubs can operate at 75% of capacity. Mandatory quarantine for those visiting Montana will be lifted on June 1 as well. (May 20)
  • Governor Bullock issued a directive mandating travelers coming to Montana from another state or country for non-work-related purposes to self-quarantine for 14 days. (March 30)
  • Governor Bullock asked tourists to stop coming to the state while residents are under a stay-at-home directive to prevent the spread of coronavirus. (March 30)
  • Governor Bullock issued a directive mandating that non-essential social and recreational gatherings of individuals outside of a home or place of residence of greater than ten people are prohibited if a distance of at least six feet between individuals cannot be maintained. (March 24)

Delivery Services:

  • Businesses impacted by Governor Bullock’s March 20 directive are permitted and encouraged to offer food and beverage using delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service, or drive-up service. (March 20)

SCHOOL CLOSURES

K-12:

  • No official order regarding school closures has been ordered as of April 28.  Local school districts have been tasked with determining whether they will continue remote learning programs until the end of the current school year or reopen schools. A full list of the individual district’s deliberations can be found here.  
  • Governor Bullock issued a directive to extend closures of public schools through April 24. (April 9)  
  •  The Governor released additional guidance on school closures and directed measures to be put in place to ensure that schools utilize the two-week closure to plan if there are continued or future closures, which include waiving requirements for pupil instruction time through March 27. (March 19) 

State Higher Education:

  • The 25 Montana colleges and universities will receive a distribution of emergency aid funds worth a total of $32 million. A full list of the recipient organizations can be found here. (April 10)
  • The Montana University System and its post-secondary institutions have transitioned to online classes and essential services. (March 23)
  • Montana University System’s Commissioner of Higher Education released a memo asking all students currently away on spring break that they do not return to campus and urging students currently on campus to consider an alternative living arrangement. (March 18)

Produced by Marathon Strategies, an independent PR firm that delivers intelligent communications and research solutions. For information, email Phil Singer at COVID-19@marathonstrategies.com