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

By Michelle Bigelbach
The Courier 

Montana Enters Phase Two Of Reopening

 


As the state continues to see lower number of active coronavirus cases compared to the rest of the country, Montana officially entered Phase Two of the Reopening the Big Sky plan on June 1. This new phase allows local businesses the option to increase their capacity and allow the continuation of planned events such as the Milk River Catfish Days, which is scheduled for June 6, in addition to having the ability for the community to partake in summer activities such as those through the Glasgow Recreation Department, softball and baseball.

The Fort Peck Downstream, West End Tent and trailer campgrounds also opened June 1. Both campgrounds will be fully reservable through the reservation service. Walk-in reservations cannot be made at the gatehouse and the honor box will no longer be used at the downstream campground. The honor box will also no longer be in use at the West End Tent and Trailer campground. For those camp sites, reservations will be made the same day as arrival through the reservation service. Reservations for all three campsite can be made through http://www.recreation.gov.

Under Phase Two, restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and casinos remain in the same operation status as Phase One, but can increase their capacity to 75 percent from the initial 50 percent, which was established in Phase One. Establishments must continue providing physical distancing between groups and/or tables and those at tables must be limited to 10 people per table. These establishments must continue to adhere to their specific cleaning plan established upon reopening, including cleaning menus between customers, cleaning growlers and refillable/reusable containers prior to being filled and cleaning gaming machines between customers. Any table items, including condiments, menus, napkins and décor that can’t be adequately cleaned between customers must also continued to be removed from the table.

Gyms, indoor group fitness classes, pools, and hot tubs can also operate at 75 percent capacity and only if they can adhere to strict physical distancing and exercise frequent sanitation protocols. Concert halls, bowling alleys and other places of assembly can also operate with reduced capacity if they adhere to strict physical distancing guidelines.

All businesses are required to follow the social distancing and sanitation guidelines established in Phase One, ensuring six-feet apart and avoiding gatherings of more than 50 people in circumstances that do no readily allow for appropriate physical distancing. It is strongly encouraged to continue sanitation practices such as hand-washing and wearing masks in public places.

“Social distancing, wearing a cloth mask, washing your hands, and sanitizing are all part of our new normal. If not for you, do it for others, especially for the most vulnerable among us,” stated Governor Bullock in a press release. “Not following these guidelines could put us in a position where we have to go backward, instead of being able to continue to move forward.”

To ensure the safety of the vulnerable, visitations at nursing homes and assisted living facilities continue to remain suspended except for certain compassionate care situations. Those also most vulnerable should stay home when possible during this phase.

One big change during this phase, especially for those who want to travel this summer, is the 14-day travel quarantine that was enacted during Phase 1. Now those who want to travel out-of-state and for visitors who come from another state or country will not have to quarantine. However, screenings will continue to be conducted by the Montana National Guard at certain airports and train depots, so those with COVID-19 symptoms can be referred to local public health officials.

Since the pandemic started in the United States, Montana has seen the lowest number of positive cases and hospitalizations per capita. As of June 1, there were 41 active cases and four new cases.

“Montana has been an example for the rest of the nation in our response to this global pandemic. I have no doubt that we can continue to be that example, but only if Montanans, businesses and visitors alike continue to take seriously the responsibility we all have protecting others. As we continue with the next phase in our reopening, our goal together as Montanans for the foreseeable future is to mitigate the spread of the virus," stressed Governor Bullock.

 

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