HELENA- Governor Steve Bullock announced his plan for the phased reopening of Montana at a press conference on Wednesday.
The plan includes three phases, and as the state begins to reopen, Governor Bullock says public health, healthcare and supplies will be considered.
A release from Bullock says the plan to reopen was based on the latest scientific evidence and data, and in consultation with public health experts, healthcare providers, business leaders, and emergency management professionals.
The plan to reopen, however, relies on Montanans to follow social distancing guidelines whenever possible and to continue to limit gatherings according to the release.
Out of state travelers and residents coming back to Montana from another state or country are required to quarantine for 14 days until the end of the emergency unless modified.
“There are very few states in the country that can say they have seen the number of positive cases decline over these past weeks. Montana can say that because, together, we have made that decline in cases possible,” Governor Bullock said. “While there is reason for optimism this is not a time for celebration. I am going to ask Montanans to continue to go to great lengths to protect one another, to continue looking out for our neighbors who need it the most, and to continue being vigilant in every step we take.”
Phase one is set to start on April 26 for individuals and April 27 for employers.
After April 27, businesses are no longer designated essential or non-essential unless otherwise stated in a directive from Governor Bullock.
The duration of each phase will be regularly evaluated in close consultation with public health and emergency management professionals. Factors considered in moving from one phase to the next include the ability for public health professionals to monitor new cases adequately and conduct contact tracing according to the release.
If there are negative indicators in the areas being considered, certain restrictions may be re-implemented or other protective measures may be put in place.
According to Governor Bullock, phase one of the reopening includes:
• ALL VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS should continue to follow the stay home guidance. Members of households with vulnerable residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not practical, they could carry the virus back home. Precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents.
• Vulnerable Individuals: people over 65 years of age and/or those with serious underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and those whose immune system is compromised such as by chemotherapy for cancer and other conditions requiring such therapy.
All individuals (non-household), WHEN IN PUBLIC (e.g., parks, outdoor recreation areas, shopping areas), should maximize physical distance from others.
Avoid GATHERING in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing.
MINIMIZE NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL and adhere to Montana guidelines regarding quarantine.
Phase One: Employers
When telework is not feasible it is encouraged to ACCOMMODATE ALTERNATE WORK SCHEDULES such as shift work and staggered scheduling in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Close COMMON AREAS where personnel are likely to congregate and interact; or enforce strict social distancing protocols.
MINIMIZE NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESS TRAVEL.
SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS should be made for members of a VULNERABLE POPULATION or those with vulnerable household members.
Phase One: Specific Types of Employers / Activities
• SENIOR LIVING OR ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES must continue to prohibit visitors. Those who do interact with residents and patients must ensure strict protocols regarding hygiene and protection are followed.
• This includes daily screening of staff for symptoms and preventing ill workers from working.
• CHILD CARE FACILITIES can remain operational but should follow State and local guidelines regarding operational levels and occupancy.
• ORGANIZEDYOUTHACTIVITEScanconsiderbecomingoperationalifphysicaldistancing guidelines can be implemented. Avoid GATHERING in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing.
• RESTAURANTS / BARS / BREWERIES / DISTILLERIES / CASINOS can become operational on or after May 4, 2020 under strict physical distancing and reduced capacity protocols in accordance with State guidelines.
• All patrons must be out of bars, restaurants, and casinos by 11:30.
Phase One: Specific Types of Employers / Activities Continued
MAIN STREET AND RETAIL BUSINESSES can become operational on or after April 27, 2020 with reduced capacity and where strict physical distancing protocols can be maintained.
OUTDOOR RECREATION can become operational if sites adhere to strict physical distancing
between groups and exercise frequent sanitation protocols if public facilities are open.
PLACES OF WORSHIP can become operational on or after April 26, 2020 with reduced capacity and where strict physical distancing protocols can be maintained between non-household members. Avoid GATHERING in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing.
Other PLACE OF ASSEMBLY shall remain closed (e.g., movie and performance theaters, concert halls, bowling alleys, bingo halls, and music halls).
Phase two of the reopening includes:
Gatherings may expand to 50 people.
➢ Vulnerable populations should continue to follow stay home
➢ Gyms / Pools / Hot Tubs can become operational.
➢ In addition to houses of worship, other places of assembly can become operational under the group size restrictions and physical distancing guidelines in this phase. home directive
Phase Two: Individuals and Employers
Avoid GATHERING in groups of more than 50 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing.
NON-ESSENTIALTRAVELguidelinesremainthesameasPHASEONEforindividualstraveling into Montana and for Montanans returning home.
VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS should continue to adhere to the stay home guidance.
Continue to ENCOURAGE TELEWORK as much as possible and where feasible but refer to
guideline in PHASE ONE when telework is not possible.
SENIOR LIVING OR ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES must continue to follow the guidelines of
CHILD CARE FACILITIES can increase capacity if physical distancing guidelines can be
more than 50 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing. 18
Phase Two: Individuals and Employers Continued
ALL BUSINESSES can remain operational and must adhere to physical distancing.
RESTAURANTS / BARS / BREWERIES / DISTILLERIES / CASINOS remain in the same
operational status as PHASE ONE, but with an increase in capacity.
GYMS / POOLS / HOT TUBS can become operational with reduced capacity and only if they can
adhere to strict physical distancing and they exercise frequent sanitation protocols.
PLACESOFASSEMBLYcanbecomeoperationalwithreducedcapacityandmustadhereto physical distancing. Avoid GATHERING in groups of more than 50 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing.
Phase three includes:
No limit on group size.
➢ Vulnerable populations can resume public interactions, but should practice physical distancing, and continue to take precautionary measures.
Phase Three: Individuals and Employers
ALL INDIVIDUALS and EMPLOYERS should continue to operate consistent with updated CDC guidelines.
For ALL INDIVIDUALS there is no limit on group size, however everyone should consider minimizing contact time with others and limit time spent in crowded environments.
VULNERABLEINDIVIDUALScanresumepublicinteractions,butshouldpracticephysical distancing, and continue to take precautionary measures.
Employers can resume FULL STAFFING of workplaces.
Visits to SENIOR CARE FACILITIES can resume. Those who interact with residents and patients
must be diligent regarding hygiene.
ALL BUSINESSES / PLACES OF ASSEMBLY can remain fully operational with awareness of physical distancing.
Phase Three: Individuals and Employers
GYMS / POOLS / HOT TUBS can remain fully operational but must still exercise frequent sanitation protocols.
OUTDOOR RECREATION Interstate tourism travel resumes. Campground, group-use facilities, playgrounds and visitor centers are fully open.
There is no limit on GROUP SIZE during this phase, however PHYSICAL DISTANCING should still be observed.
Continue to follow GUIDELINES FOR ALL PHASES.
According to Bullock’s release for the phased reopening of Montana, local jurisdictions can enact guidelines that are more restrictive than State guidelines.
Schools have the option to return to in-classroom teaching beginning May 7, 2020.