The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Michelle Bigelbach
The Courier 

Gov. Bullock to Montanans: Stay at Home

Stay At Home Order Issued And Visitors To Be Quarantined

 

A.J. Etherington / The Courier

A sign outside the Valley County Health Department reads "Closed to the Public" as government, businesses and some services close as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that has halted or altered much of the world's daily life.

In a continued effort to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), Governor Bullock extended closures of public schools and dine-in food service as well as alcoholic beverage businesses through April 10 on March 24. Just a few days later, on March 26, Governor Bullock took the directive a step-further and issued a Stay At Home Directive, requiring Montanans to stay home and temporarily closed all nonessential businesses and operations through Friday, April 10. The directive also prohibits all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a household or place of residence.

"I am taking these measures today because we need to stay in front of this pandemic and slow the growth of infections. In order to have a healthy economy we need a healthy population. We cannot rebuild our economic strength without doing everything we can now to flatten the curve and slow the spread of this virus," stated the Governor in a press release.

Essential services and businesses will remain open however will be required to comply with social distancing guidelines when possible, which includes maintaining six feet of distance, having sanitizing products available and designating hours of operations specifically for vulnerable populations. Local stores, which had stayed open while following distancing guidelines, closed their doors as a result of the directive including The Loaded Toad and Robyn's Nest while local restaurants continue to promote carry-out, delivery and/or curbside service. Grocery stores, including Reynolds and Albertsons are still open and operating their normal hours, however do have designated hours for the vulnerable populations to shop when the store is at it's cleanest.

Under the directive, Montanans may leave their home for essential activities which include for health and safety, including visiting a health care professional, seeking emergency services, and/or obtaining medical supplies; for necessary supplies and services, which include grocery shopping, obtaining household consumer products, supplies that are needed to work from home and produces the necessity to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences; for outdoor activity, including spending time outdoors, walking, hiking, running or biking. Public parks and open outdoor recreation areas, including public lands are remaining open; for certain types of work as well as to take care of others.

The Stay At Home Order came just hours before the first reported death of a Montanan due to COVID-19 of a 77-year old Lincoln County male. Since March 26, as of press time, three more deaths were reported, one in Madison County and two in Toole County. Following the news of the most recent deaths, Governor Bullock stated in a press release, "Losing two more Montanans to COVID-19 is a blow to our statewide community. Today's news is a heartbreaking reminder to us all that we must continue to do everything we can to slow the spread of this disease. Montanans in every corner of our state are keeping the family and friends of these Montanans in our hearts."

On March 30, Governor Bullock issued another directive directing travelers arriving from another state or country to Montana for non-work-related purposes undergo a 14-day self-quarantine. The Directive applies both to Montana residents and non-residents entering the state for non-work-related purposes. It requires a self-quarantine for 14 days or the duration of a non-work trip to Montana if less than 14 days. It also instructs the Montana Department of Commerce to advise vacation listing and rental sites that they must notify potential out-of-state renters about the quarantine requirements.

As of the morning of March 31, there were 184 confirmed cases of COVID-19, four deaths and 14 hospitalizations with 4,411 total tests completed through March 30.

 

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