Montana - COVID-19 Covered

Montana

Total Cases: 27,142 (October 25)
Fatalities: 294 (October 25)
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 that he is directing $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) 
  • Governor Bullock announced that additional funding from the Coronavirus Relief Fund will be directed to the Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grant and Social Services Nonprofit Grant programs to fully address identified needs. (September 10) 
  • Lt. Governor Cooney announced $542,000 in grant funding has 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) 
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved Montana’s application for the Lost Wages Assistance Payments grant, which allows the department to give an additional $400 per week to people receiving unemployment benefits. (August 19) 
  • 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 Steve 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’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 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) 
  • 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