Missoula County to close bars, limit restaurant service

Posted at 2:16 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 21:22:16-04

MISSOULA — Missoula City-County Health Department officials have issued an order to close bars and putting limits on restaurant services starting on Tuesday, March 17 through 8 a.m. Tuesday March 24th.

The order comes on the heels of CDC guidance to restrict events to fewer than 50 people, and the growing evidence supporting social distancing, or the avoidance of large groups of people and close contact. Other jurisdictions in Montana are doing the same, including Butte, as well as elected officials across the country.

“I know that this is a big ask with Saint Patty’s day tomorrow, but this is not a typical time. This is a global pandemic of a new virus that spreads easily from person-to-person, and we need everyone’s help in curbing it,” said Ellen Leahy, Health Officer. With two presumptive positive COVID-19 tests over the weekend and other cases across the state, the order is timely, especially in light of the school closures by Governor Bullock.

While the order prohibits the operation of bars and dine-in food service, the order does allow for drive-thru, take out, and delivery service. It also doesn’t include food services that are a sole source of food for a population such as nursing homes, UM dining, or hospitals. Food services that operate in a limited capacity need to follow the food service regulations and additional guidance from the health department.

For all other COVID-related questions, please call the hotline at 406-258-INFO or visit the Missoula Health Department website.