Following a record-breaking week of new COVID-19 cases in Montana, Montana Governor Steve Bullock has issued a new directive. Effective Friday, November 20, the latest directive concerning the COVID-19 pandemic restricts the capacity of restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and casinos to 50% of normal operating capacity and they must close no later than 10 p.m. They can re-open after 4 a.m. It limits the number of people at a table to six and mandates six feet of social distancing.
Public gatherings and events where social distancing is not possible or not practiced are limited to 25 individuals. Anyone planning an event with more than 25 people should consult with their local public health office on a plan to implement adequate social distancing. The 25-person limit does not apply to bars, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and casinos operating under the requirements set forth in Part I of the directive.
The directive does not alter existing requirements for houses of worship. Faith leaders are urged to continue to ensure that social distancing is possible and practiced for all in-person services, and to encourage the use of virtual services where possible.
The directive does not alter existing requirements for public and private K-12 schools.
The requirements described in the July 15 directive providing for the mandatory use of face coverings in certain settings and the August 12 directive providing for the mandatory use of face coverings in all K-12 schools are modified to apply in all counties statewide, whether or not a county has identified four active cases. The narrow allowance permitting students to remove face coverings while seated and observing proper social distancing of six feet, set forth in the August 27 directive, remains in effect according to the terms of that directive.
The directive, along with any prior directive that implements and references the public health authorities of DPHHS provided in Title 50, constitutes a “public health . . . order” within the meaning of the law, and is enforceable by the Attorney General, DPHHS, a county attorney, or other local authorities under the direction of a county attorney. Local public health agencies and all officers and agencies of the state are directed to assist in the administration and enforcement of this directive.
Counties, cities, and towns may adopt more restrictive ordinances.
The directive can be seen online at covid.19.mt.gov.