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Missoula health officials announce Phase 2 reopening plans

Missoula City County Health Department.jpg
Posted at 3:56 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 20:26:38-04

MISSOULA — Local health officials have announced what is in store as Montana moves into Phase 2 of the gradual reopening of the state on June 1.

The Missoula City-County Health Department has amended local orders to follow Gov. Steve Bullock’s requirements.

Beginning on June 1, gyms, fitness studios, pools, restaurants, and bars can move to 75% capacity providing that they can maintain six-foot distancing.

Meanwhile, restaurants and bars can increase the number of people seated at tables, and bowling alleys and concert halls can open with reduced capacity.

The state directive also increased group size to 50 without social distancing and asked those hosting larger events to contact their local health department on distancing measures.

“Missoula has many events during the summer. We want these to happen and need coordinators to think about how to support distancing and other COVID preventions,” Cindy Farr, Incident Commander for the health department’s COVID-19 response, said in a news release. “This isn’t over, unfortunately.”

The second phase of Gov. Bullock’s reopening plan eliminates the traveler’s quarantine. However, with many areas of the country still seeing a lot of cases, this could mean additional cases for Montana.

“Right now, Montana looks like the place to be. We have great recreation opportunities and events, low case counts, and people are going to start coming here,” said Farr.

“The virus could get introduced, and if we don’t use the means we have for preventing spread, this could take off," she added.

Farr also pointed out that Missoula is considered a tourist destination.

Gov. Steve Bullock detailed plans to help support Montana's tourism industry during a Thursday news conference in Helena.

She also encouraged Missoulians to continue practicing COVID-19 prevention measures and embrace the changes that they may see at events this summer to keep everyone safe.

Click here to view the latest health order from the Missoula City-County Health Department.



The previously published "Re-opening The Big Sky" plan is divided into three phases.

Below is a summary of some of the key points of the second phase

  • Gatherings may expand to 50 people.
  • Vulnerable populations should continue to follow stay home guidance.
  • 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.

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-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL guidelines remain the same as PHASE ONE for individuals traveling 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 PHASE ONE.
  • CHILD CARE FACILITIES can increase capacity if physical distancing guidelines can be implemented.
  • ORGANIZED YOUTH ACTIVITES remain operational and should avoid GATHERING in groups of more than 50 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing.
  • 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.OUTDOOR RECREATION remain in the same operational status as PHASE ONE.PLACES OF ASSEMBLY can become operational with reduced capacity and must adhere to physical distancing.
  • Avoid GATHERING in groups of more than 50 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing.

Click here to read the full "Re-opening The Big Sky" plan.