Governor Tightens COVID-19 Mitigation Measures
November 25, 2020
Less than 24 hours after the Valley County Board of Health issued an updated health order tightening COVID-mitigating measures in the county, Governor Bullock further tightened his own health measures limiting business capacities and decreasing crowd sizes at almost all events and venues.
The governor’s order issued on Nov. 17, will limit capacity in bars, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and casinos, limits public gatherings to 25 individuals where social distancing is not possible, and requires face coverings in all counties regardless of case count. The measures went into effect on Nov. 20.
The new measures will limit restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and casinos to 50 percent of their total capacity and those establishments will need to close by 10 p.m. The order also limits table sizes to six people and social distancing requirements are still mandatory—meaning groups, tables and individuals must remain six feet apart.
The directive changes nothing for schools and places of worship. For houses of worship, crowd sizes will remain set at 50 individuals—with social distancing. Guidance issued still encourages religious leaders to engage in virtual services wherever possible. Schools remain subject to earlier orders and guidance put out by the state, but it does require face coverings for K-12 students regardless of county-wide case numbers.
Another round of business stabilization grants was also announced by the governor as he seeks to fend off some of the economic impacts the restrictions are inflicting on small businesses across the state.
A total of $75 million will be available to businesses. Businesses who have already received Business Stabilization Grants will receive an email inviting them to accept a third round of funding. To be eligible for funding, businesses must agree to comply with all state and local COVID-19 orders including requiring masks, social distancing, capacity, and closing time restrictions.
The announcement was also accompanied by further benefits for those facing unemployment in the state. The state sent another $25 million to the Montana Department of Labor & Industry to provide eligible Montanans who are unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19 disruptions with a supplemental payment of $200 a week for four weeks beginning the week ending Nov. 28 and ending Dec. 19. To receive this support, eligible recipients do not need to apply separately. Individuals will receive the benefit if they keep filing their regular payment requests in montanaworks.gov or mtpua.mt.gov.
As of Nov. 22, there were 16,026 active COVID-19 cases statewide. Of those, 477 were hospitalized with the disease. So far, 603 Montanans have passed away due to contracting the virus. Montana has confirmed 55,680 cases of COVID-19 in the state so far and 2,350 have been hospitalized over the course of the outbreak.
In Valley County there were 69 active cases of COVID-19 as of Nov. 22.