After nearly a month of adherence to a stay-at-home order, which closed many main street businesses, Montana’s business community received welcome news as Governor Bullock announced that a phased reopening of Montana is ready to begin. Montana has some of the lowest numbers of cases and hospitalizations in the nation and unlike many other states, the number of new cases is in decline—effectively, “flattening the curve”Consequently, the Governor’s office issued guidelines for a three-phase easing of restrictions on economic and social activity with the first phase beginning Sunday and later phases to be determined.   

Phase 1 Timeline 

Sunday, April 26th 

  • Governor Bullock’s shelter-in-place order will be lifted 
  • Churches may reopen, provided adequate distance can be placed between people of different households. 

Monday, April 27th 

  • Main Street and Retail businesses may reopen–including personal services such as hairdressing, so long as strict guidelines are followed. 

Monday, May 4th 

  • Restaurants, bars, and coffee shops may reopen under the following restrictions:  
  • they may only have 50% of the normal seating capacity,  
  • no more than 6 people may be seated at one table 
  • people may not sit or stand at the bar 
  • these businesses must close by 11:30 pm 

Wednesday, May 7th  

  • Schools may open at the discretion of local schoolboards. 

What is Not Changing Yet 

  • Businesses that inherently gather large numbers of people such as movie theaters and gyms will remain closed 
  • Non-essential travelers coming to Montana from out of state will still be required to self-quarantine for 14 days 
  • Visits to nursing homes will remain restricted 
  • People are still encouraged to wear masks, minimize non-essential travel, and practice social distancing 
  • Businesses are encouraged to continue teleworking where possible and seek other ways to protect employees such as alternative scheduling  
  • Local authorities may impose or continue their own restrictions

For more information and resources on Covid-19 please visit the Billings Chamber websiteor the Yellowstone County Economic Recovery website.