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Closure of on-premise food services and casinos to combat spread of COVID-19

Find the Governor’s Directive on Bars and Restaurants here.


TO:  Montanans; all officers and agencies of the State of Montana

FROM: Governor Steve Bullock

DATE: March 20, 2020

RE: Directive Implementing Executive Orders 2-2020 and 3-2020 and providing for measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 via food and beverage services or casinos

Executive Orders 2-2020 and 3-2020 declare that a state of emergency exists in Montana due to the global outbreak of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus.

Section 10-3-104, MCA, provides emergency powers to the Governor to “control ingress and egress to and from an incident or emergency or disaster area, the movement of persons within the area, and the occupancy of premises within the area.” Moreover, pursuant to § 50-1-202, MCA, the Department of Public Health and Human Services, at the direction of the Governor, may issue orders to correct conditions of public health importance.

To curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Montana, it is necessary immediately to prohibit any number of people from congregating in public venues for purposes of public food or beverage service and other activities that pose an enhanced risk, in order to limit opportunities for disease exposure and transmission in the state.

In accordance with the authority vested in me under the Constitution, Article VI, Sections 4 and 13, and the laws of the State of Montana, Title 10, Chapter 3 and Title 50, Chapter 1, MCA, and other applicable provisions of the Constitution and Montana Law, I hereby direct the following measures be in place in the State of Montana effective as of 8 p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2020:

• The following places are closed to ingress, egress, use, and occupancy by members of the public:

o Restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, and other similar establishments offering food or beverage for on-premises consumption.
o Alcoholic beverage service businesses, including bars, taverns, brew pubs, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, special licensees, clubs, and other establishments offering alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.
o Cigar bars.
o Health clubs, health spas, gyms, aquatic centers, pools and hot springs, indoor facilities at ski areas, climbing gyms, fitness studios, and indoor recreational facilities.
o Movie and performance theaters, nightclubs, concert halls, bowling alleys, bingo halls, and music halls.
o Casinos.

• The places subject to this 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, and to use precautions in doing so to mitigate the potential transmission of COVID-19, including social distancing. Customers may order and pay by telephone or online from a retailer or manufacturer licensed to sell alcoholic beverages in the State of Montana. A retailer or manufacturer licensed to sell alcoholic beverages in the state of Montana may deliver for sale the alcoholic beverages for which it is licensed. Delivery must be conducted by the licensee’s employees over the age of 21 and age of the purchaser and recipient must be verified at the time of delivery. The purchased alcohol must be hand-delivered to the purchaser. o In offering food or beverage, a place subject to this section may permit up to five members of the public at one time inside for the purpose of picking up their food or beverage orders, so long as those individuals are at least six feet apart from one another while on premises.

• The restrictions imposed by this order do not apply to any of the following:  o Establishments that offer food and beverage not for on-premises consumption, including grocery stores, markets, convenience stores, pharmacies, drug stores, and food pantries, other than those portions of the establishments restricted above.  o Room service in hotels. o Health care facilities, residential care facilities, university dining facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities. o Crisis shelters or similar institutions. o Airport concessionaires. o Military dining facilities or military food operations. o Any facilities necessary for the response to the emergency, including schools providing necessary meal services to children. o All of the above-named facilities and establishments should adopt appropriate social distancing practices to avoid the spread of disease, to the extent practicable.

• Consistent with the above, strict compliance with §§ 16-3-101, -219, -243, and -418, MCA, and other applicable laws are waived pursuant to § 10-3-104, MCA and other applicable provisions of law.

• In the interest of uniformity of laws and to prevent the spread of disease, all inconsistent emergency county health ordinances are preempted by this Directive, but only to the extent they are less restrictive. Counties may adopt more restrictive ordinances.

Authorities: Section 10-3-104, MCA; §§ 50-1-202, -203, and -204, MCA; Executive Orders 2-2020 and 3-2020; Montana Constitution, Art. VI, Sections 4 and 13; §§ 10-3-103, -302, and -305, MCA; and all other applicable provisions of state and federal law.


• This Directive is effective at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2020 and expires at 11:59 p.m. on March 27, 2020, though it may be extended by a further Directive.

• This Directive shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

• This Directive is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the State of Montana, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Montana Public Schools Closed through March 27


Sunday, March 15, 2020/Categories: Governor’s Office/Tags:

Governor Steve Bullock today announced a set of directives and guidance to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect vulnerable Montanans, including closing of public K-12 schools, social distancing measures, and limiting visitation at nursing home facilities.

“As governor, it is my top priority to protect the health and safety of Montanans, particularly our most vulnerable, at a time when we face the potential for extraordinary health risks from coronavirus in our state,” said Governor Bullock. “Social distancing is one of the most important primary protective measures to flatten the curve of this virus. I cannot underscore the seriousness of following these measures to help our neighbors, friends, and families.”

Governor Bullock directed Montana’s public K-12 schools to close starting tomorrow, March 16 until March 27. During this time, schools will engage in planning to provide arrangements to provide free meals to students who need them, pursuant to a waiver obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture, and to provide for all other matters and services that students need in the event of future or ongoing closure. Schools will continue to receive all state funding during this two-week closure.

The state will work with schools during this period to evaluate and consider next steps as needed. The decision to close schools is to slow the spread and is not in response to an outbreak in schools.

“I recognize that our schools often serve as a lifeline for families and that this decision is going to have disruption on Montanans over the coming weeks. I’m committed to working with schools, communities and public health to minimize the impact. I encourage businesses to do everything they can to support families as well,” said Governor Bullock.

To mitigate the impact of school closures on families, Governor Bullock encourages all employers to be generous with their employee sick and paid leave policies during this time.

Governor Bullock is strongly recommending that the public limits all gatherings, especially those more than 50 people, in every community across the state. Governor Bullock is also recommending that individuals over the age of 60 or who are immunocompromised or with chronic health conditions do not participate in gatherings of more than 20 people. He also recommends that parents should avoid, if possible, placing children for childcare with grandparents or individuals over the age of 60 or immunocompromised persons.

Visitation in Montana’s nursing homes is suspended except for certain compassionate care situations. People who meet the exception for visitation will undergo a screening to determine whether they have traveled in the last two weeks, are residing where community spread is occurring, or if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

In addition to taking part in regular briefing calls with the country’s governors and the White House, Governor Bullock has consulted with doctors and other public health authorities and school leaders to develop efforts to prevent spread of COVID-19 in Montana.

Click to read Governor Bullock’s full directive to the people of Montana

Additional Helpful Resources:

Montana’s COVID-19 Information Page

Office of Public Instruction – COVID-19 Information Page

CDC Guidance for Childcare and K-12 Schools

CDC Guidance for Nursing Homes


Boil Water Advisory Lifted

The boil water advisory affecting private wells in the City of Choteau and outlying areas has been lifted. It is recommended to visually inspect your wellhead to determine if there was possible contamination from surface water. If contamination is suspected you should contact the Teton County Sanitarian (406-466-2150) or the Montana State Environmental Lab (406-444-3444) for a water testing kit and instructions.

If your water has been contaminated, you should disinfect your well according to these instructions.

Feel free to contact the Teton County Sanitarian at (406) 466-2150 or if you have any questions.

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders in Teton County 2019 Report

The Teton County Addictions Task Force has released Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders in Teton County: Statistical Review and Community Readiness Assessment.

The intent of this report is two-fold:

  1. 1. To provide a brief overview of the status of mental health and substance use disorders in Teton County, by representing data collected from various sources including public health, healthcare, law enforcement, and schools. These data will serve as a baseline for future outcome metrics of efforts used to address these issues, and will also allow groups such as the Teton County Addictions Task Force to make data-informed decisions as they move forward to address mental health and substance use disorders.

2. To evaluate community readiness to address mental health and substance use disorders in Teton County using a modified version of the Community Readiness Model developed by the Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research. The results of this assessment with allow groups to draw conclusions regarding the degree to which Teton County is willing and prepared to take action on the issues of mental health and substance use disorders.

Teton County Community Health Needs Assessment and Improvement Plan

We have just released the 2017 Teton County Health Needs Assessment and Improvement Plan.

Teton County’s 2017 Community Health Needs Assessment and Improvement Plan (CHNA-IP) provides an overview of the current health status in Teton County, and community-driven objectives and strategies for improving health and quality of life in our county. This report is unique from other community health needs assessments that have been done in Teton County, in that it provides a more comprehensive examination of the many facets that relate to the health and well-being of the community and is a product of collaboration among Teton County Mental Health Local Advisory Council (LAC), Teton County Health Department (TCHD) and Benefis Teton Medical Center (BTMC), the local hospital.


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