Montana - COVID-19 Covered

Montana

Total Cases: 5,407 (August 14)
Tests Administered: 197,820 (August 12)
Fatalities: 81 (August 14)
Testing:
  • Montana residents concerned about getting tested for COVID-19 should contact their primary care provider. More information can be found here. 

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 is offering 13 weeks of additional unemployment benefits for eligible individuals who have exhausted their previous Unemployment Insurance. (July 1) 

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Governor Bullock announced he will direct $10 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds to create the Live Entertainment Grant Program to provide longterm viability for the live entertainment industry. (August 12) 
  • Governor Bullock today announced that he will direct $50 million to increase child care options for Montana families and bolster the state’s child care infrastructure in response to COVID-19. (August 11 
  • Governor Bullock and the Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) have announced that over $7.5 million in grant funding has been awarded through the Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grant programs to aid small and medium-sized meat processors in responding to the COVID-19 crisis. (August 11) 
  • Governor Bullock today announced that nearly $100,000 was awarded to 12 applicants through the Montana Farmer Student Loan Assistance Program, which was created to encourage Montana’s college-educated youth to pursue a primary career in farming or ranching. (August 7) 
  • Governor Bullock and the Montana Department of Agriculture announced that over $7.5 million in grant funding has been awarded through the Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grant programs. (August 4) 
  • Governor Bullock and the Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced that over $1 million in grant funding has been awarded from the Montana Agriculture Adaptability Program (MTAAP). The grants are designed to provide relief to small and medium-sized food and agriculture businesses in response to the COVID-19 crisis. (June 26) 
  • 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. (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) 

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

Reopening:

  • Governor Bullock issued a directive requiring face coverings in certain indoor spaces and for certain organized outdoor activities in counties currently experiencing four or more active cases of COVID-19 to slow the spread of the virus in Montana. (July 15) 
  • To limit the spread of COVID-19 across the state, the Montana Hospital Association and the Montana Department of Commerce today announced shipments of 45,000 free cloth face coverings to 25 communities statewide. (July 9) 
  • The Blackfoot Nation, whose reservation borders Glacier National Park, has announced that it will be maintaining a two-week quarantine order and lodging restrictions for non-residents. (June 19) 
  • Governor Bullock announced that the state would enter into Phase 2 of its reopening plan on June 1. Restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleriescasinos, gyms, indoor fitness classes, pools, and hot tubs can operate at 75% of capacity. (May 20) 
  • Mandatory quarantine for those visiting Montana was lifted on June 1.  (May 20) 

SCHOOL PLANNING

K-12:

  • Governor Bullock issued a directive offering flexibility for local school districts to provide remote or offsite education in order to protect students and teachers from the spread of COVID-19 when schools reopen this fall. (July 31) 
  • Governor Bullock released a plan for reopening schools while also encouraging schools to consider developing their own health and safety plans to reopen. (July 2)
    • Accommodations for students, teachers, and staff who are in an at-risk group
    • Occupancy limits that allow for social distancing
    • Guidance on traffic flow to avoid crowding in congregational spaces
    • Cleaning and disinfecting protocols
    • Processes for monitoring students and staff for symptoms and history of exposure
    • Producing guidelines in relation to isolation or quarantine if needed
    • How to serve meals while minimizing congregation
    • Adjusting transportation schedules
    • Protocols for sports and other extracurricular activities
  • Montana’s Office of Public Instruction said the Governor’s three-phase plan for reopening Montana also applies to schools:
    • Phase 1: Limiting the number of students present in school buildings
    • Phase 2: Full capacity but limiting the number of activities to allow for continued social distancing
    • Phase 3: Near full capacity and full operations but with continued vigilance in health and safety best practices.

State Higher Education:

  • A list of Montana universities and colleges planning to reopen in the fall can be found here. 
  • Governor Bullock announced he will direct up to $20 million in funding to the Montana University System to support its fall semester COVID-19 strategy for testing students. (August 6) 
  • Montana State University will give out $3.5 million in federal emergency relief grants to 6,147 students in response to the pandemic. (July 7) 
  • Bozeman campus has promised to distribute $5.2 million to students who qualify for funds. (July 7) 
  • Montana State University and the entire Montana University System are moving ahead with plans to open campuses to in-person classes this fall. (May 13) 

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