Shelter in place order issued starting Saturday

Essential services, businesses outlined
Casey S. Elliott
Thursday, March 26, 2020

Montanans are being ordered to stay at home as much as possible except for essential activities beginning 12 a.m. Saturday, March 28.

Gov. Steve Bullock issued a "shelter in place" directive for March 28 to April 10, requiring residents to stay home, closing all non-essential business operations to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

“In consultation with public health experts, health care providers, and emergency management professionals, I have determined that to protect public health and human safety, it is essential, to the maximum extent possible, individuals stay at home or at their place of residence,” he said. “There’s no doubt that COVID-19 is causing a lot of hardship. It’s also causing incredible hardships for our frontline doctors, nurses and other hospital staff across the country.”

The order prohibits public and private gatherings of any number of people outside a household or place of residence. Residents may leave their homes for essential activities, which include health and safety for themselves or their family members (including pets), such as seeking emergency services, medical supplies or medication, obtaining necessary supplies and services, taking care of other family members outside the home, and for outdoor activity (like hiking and biking, though staying separated from others). Residents are strongly encouraged to follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines when they are outside.

Residents can leave their homes for certain types of work – such as if their industry is considered an "essential service." Some essential service businesses include infrastructure; governmental functions; stores that sell groceries and medicine; food and beverage production and agriculture; communications/news media; gas stations and businesses needed for transportation; hardware and supply stores; critical trades (construction for example); mail/shipping/logistics/delivery and pick up services; educational institutions; laundry services; restaurants for consumption off-premises; businesses that supply work-from-home equipment and tools; transportation; home-based care services; residential facilities and shelters; professional services (legal, insurance, information technology); manufacture and supply chain for critical industries; critical labor union functions; hotels and motels; funeral-related services.

Essential employees and services must still operate along CDC guidelines for social distancing to protect workers and others from the spread of the virus.

Bullock's directive may be viewed at .