Montana - COVID-19 Covered

Montana

Total Cases: 191,012 (December 1)
Tests Administered: 100,914 (March 7)
Fatalities: 2,671 (December 1)
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 Gianforte ended Montana’s participation in federal COVID-19 unemployment programs and announced the launch of a return-to-work bonus program, which would utilize federal funds authorized by the American Rescue Act. (May 5) 
  • Governor Gianforte announced that the Montana Emergency Rental Assistance program is taking applications from Montanans who have lost income and are at risk of housing instability due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (April 6) 
  • Governor Bullock announced the launch of the Interim Pandemic Assistance program, directing the Montana Department of Labor & Industry to issue an extra $200 weekly payment to unemployed Montanans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic using up to $25 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds. (November 19) 
  • Governor Bullock announced he would direct $200 million in state Coronavirus Relief Funds to effectively double the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and prevent thousands of Montana businesses who pay into unemployment insurance from experiencing an 85 percent spike in their tax rate. (October 7) 
  • Lieutenant Governor Cooney announced $542,000 in grant funding had been awarded to 19 rural and safety net health care providers to assist Montanans in finding and enrolling in affordable and comprehensive insurance coverage. (August 21) 
  • Governor Bullock announced he would 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 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) 

Business Support & Resources:

  • Governor Gianforte signed a bill that would raise the business equipment tax exemption from $100,000 to $300,000. (May 5) 
  • Governor Bullock announced that additional funding from the Coronavirus Relief Fund would be directed to the Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grant and Social Services Nonprofit Grant programs to fully address identified needs. (September 10) 
  • Governor Bullock announced the new Montana Working Capital program, which builds off the Montana Loan Deferment program by allowing Montana businesses to take out a new loan to support economic recovery. (September 3) 
  • Governor Bullock announced he would direct $10 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds to create the Live Entertainment Grant Program to provide long-term viability for the live entertainment industry. (August 12) 
  • Governor Bullock and the Montana Department of Agriculture announced that over $7.5 million in grant funding had 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 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) 

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Reopening:

  • Governor Gianforte signed a bill that would permanently eliminate some telehealth regulations waived during the pandemic, such as geographic and site restrictions and a requirement that patients and providers establish a relationship prior to leveraging telehealth services under certain circumstances. (April 19) 
  • Governor Gianforte issued an executive order prohibiting the state-sponsored development and required use of so-called vaccine passports. (April 13) 
  • All Montana residents 16 years of age or older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (April 1) 
  • Governor Gianforte authorized pharmacists to use any licensed health care provider qualified to administer vaccines under his or her scope of practice to assist in the administration of COVID-19 vaccines to reduce barriers to vaccine administration in pharmacies. (March 30) 
  • Governor Gianforte announced that COVID-19 vaccines would be available to all Montanans beginning April 1. (March 16) 
  • Governor Gianforte announced the state would enter Phase 1B+ of its vaccine distribution plan on March 8. COVID-19 vaccines will be available to residents 60 years of age and older and those 16-59 years of age with additional qualifying medical conditions like asthma, cystic fibrosis, and liver disease. (March 2) 
  • Governor Gianforte issued an executive order allowing the statewide mask mandate to expire. Local jurisdictions would still be permitted to implement their own mask requirements. (February 12) 
  • Governor Gianforte announced he received federal approval to redirect 19,500 unused COVID-19 vaccine doses to vulnerable Montanans. Nearly 10,000 more residents in Phase 1B would be fully vaccinated. (February 2) 
  • Governor Gianforte announced that Montana would move into Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. (January 19) 
  • Governor Bullock announced that the first round of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, expected to be delivered to Montana in mid-December, will target health care workers at Montana’s major hospitals. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services is expected to receive an estimated first dose allocation of 9,750 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines as soon as Dec. 15. (December 7) 
  • Governor Bullock announced a new crisis counseling hotline funded by a $1.6 million federal grant is now available to aid Montanans struggling with their mental health due to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 public health emergency. (December 1) 
  • Governor Bullock is implementing new restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19, including limiting public gatherings and capacity at restaurants, bars and casinos. As of Friday, all restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and casinos must limit capacity to 50 percent and close at 10PM. Restaurants may reopen at 4AM the next day. All public gatherings are limited to 25 people or fewer. Face masks are required in public areas in all counties in Montana. (November 17) 

SCHOOL PLANNING

K-12:

  • Governor Bullock announced outbreak response protocols to support K-12 schools as they respond to suspected or positive COVID-19 cases and take public health-based measures to minimize the spread. (September 10) 
  • 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) 

State Higher Education:

  • A list of Montana universities and colleges that planned to reopen in the fall can be found here. 
  • The Montana University System announced it would not track COVID-19 vaccinations at the campus level when students return for the fall semester. (May 26 
  • Governor Bullock announced he would 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) 

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