COVID-19 Communication Response and Resources

COVID-19 UPDATE Check out the latest Glacier Country Tourism information on communication response and resources.
Adventure is Essential. Travel Responsibly. Photo: Andy Austin

UPDATED: August 7, 2020

Status of COVID-19 in Montana

On April 22 Montana's Governor Bullock shared his plan to gradually reopen Montana businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Montana is in Phase Two of Reopening. There is not currently a timeline for moving to Phase 3. On July 15, Governor Bullock issued a Directive mandating statewide mask requirement in public spaces for all Montana counties with four or more active cases of COVID-19.

Statewide Mask Requirement in Public Spaces:

The provisions of the Directive apply only to counties in which there are four or more confirmed and active COVID-19 cases, and only during the time in which there are four or more active cases. However, Montanans in counties with three or fewer active cases are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings.

Face Covering Requirement in Indoor Spaces Open to the Public 
All businesses, government offices, or other persons responsible for indoor spaces open to the public shall require and take reasonable measures to ensure that all employees, contractors, volunteers, customers, or other members of the public wear a face covering that covers their mouth and nose at all times while entering or remaining in any indoor spaces open to the public.
 + Face coverings shall be provided for all employees and volunteers.
 + All points of entry open to the public shall have a clearly visible sign posted stating:
“Mask or face covering use required for ages five and older.”

Face Covering Requirements for Certain Organized Outdoor Activities
 + For any organized outdoor activity where social distancing is not possible or is not observed, sponsors shall require and take reasonable measures to ensure that all persons attending an organized outdoor activity wear a face covering that covers their mouth and nose at all times. 
 This section applies only where the nature of the organized outdoor activity makes it impracticable for all attendees to maintain at least six feet of physical distance from each other, or any organized outdoor activity where attendees are not observing at least six feet of physical distance from others.
 At all outdoor gatherings of 50 or more people, whether or not it constitutes an organized outdoor activities, all individuals except those excluded from this Directive are required to wear face coverings while in attendance where it is impracticable to maintain six feet of physical distance at all times, or whether attendees are not observing at least six feet of physical distance from others.

Exceptions
Businesses, government offices, other persons responsible for indoor spaces open to the public, and sponsors of organized outdoor activities are not required to ensure the following individuals wear face coverings:
 + Children under the age of five. All children between the ages of two and four, however, are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in accordance with the provisions of this
Directive. Children under the age of two should not wear a face covering.
 + Persons consuming food or drinks in an establishment that offers food or drinks for sale.
 + Persons engaged in an activity that makes wearing a face covering impractical or unsafe such as strenuous physical exercise or swimming.
 + Persons seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired.
 + Persons giving a speech or engaging in an artistic, cultural, musical, or theatrical
performance for an audience, provided the audience is separated by at least six feet of
distance.
 + Persons temporarily removing their face covering for identification purposes.
 + Persons required to remove face coverings for the purpose of receiving medical
evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment.
 + Persons who have a medical condition precluding the safe wearing of a face covering.

Read the full Directive here

Phase Two includes:  

+ Increase in permissible group size to groups of 50, social distancing is recommended for any group size. Groups larger than 50 can take place if adequate social distancing can be maintained. 
 + Restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and casinos remain in the same operational status as Phase One, but with an increase to 75% capacity.
 + Gyms, indoor group fitness classes, pools, and hot tubs can operate at 75% capacity and only if they can adhere to strict physical distancing and they exercise frequent sanitation protocols.
 + Concert halls, bowling alleys, and other places of assembly may operate with reduced capacity and must adhere to strict physical distancing guidelines set forth for group gatherings and follow CDC sanitation protocols.
 + Child-care facilities can increase capacity consistent with the guidelines and FAQs' contained in the April 1 Directive on childcare and if physical distancing guidelines can be implemented.
 + Senior living or assisted living facilities must continue to follow the guidelines of Phase One.
 + Outdoor recreation remains in the same operational status as Phase One.

Read the Governor's Phase Two Directive with Appendices + Reopening Montana Phased Approach

Employers who are reopening:
 Develop and implement appropriate policies, in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations and guidance, and informed by industry best practices, regarding:
 + Social distancing and protective equipment.
 + Temperature checks and/or symptom screening.
 + Testing, isolating, and contact tracing, in collaboration with public health
authorities.
 + Sanitation.
 + Use and disinfection of common and high-traffic areas.
 + Monitor workforce for indicative symptoms. Do not allow people with symptoms of COVID-19 to work.
 + Collaborate with public health officials when implementing policies and procedures for workforce contact tracing following an employee’s COVID-19 positive test result.
 + Encourage voluntary participation of employees in any surveillance testing designed to provide community-wide early warning by local public health officials.
 + Employers should continue to permit telework as much as possible and where feasible, but refer to guidelines for Phase One where telework is not possible.

Local jurisdictions may enact guidelines that are more restrictive than the State guidelines.

Missoula: The Missoula City-County Board of Health order face coverings during COVID-19 pandemic. The ordinance passed July 9, requiring face coverings for ages 12 and up in all indoor public spaces. You can read the full ordinance here, and visit the Missoula County webpage for Missoula's COVID-19 response.

Whitefish: The city of Whitefish passed a second resolution on Tuesday July 14, requiring face covering in public settings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Visit the City of Whitefish's COVID-19 webpage for the full ordinance, and stay informed on Whitefish's COVID-19 response at WhitefishCovidCares.com


Montana News and Updates

July 15: Governor Bullock issues a statewide mask requirement in public spaces effective immediately in all Montana counties with four or more active cases. Read the Directive.

June 25: The Blackfeet Tribal Council announces continued closure of the east side access points into Glacier National Park for the remainder of the 2020 visitor season.

June 15: Glacier National Park Continues Adaptive Operational Recovery and Reopening plan.

May 19: Governor Bullock announces Phase Two reopening plan for June 1.

April 10: Non-resident Recreation Temporarily Suspended on the Flathead Indian Reservation

April 9: The National Bison Range is temporarily suspending public visitation and use in response to the coronavirus outbreak.


Guidance For Travelers

Montana prioritizes the health and safety of our citizens and visitors. Glacier Country Tourism and Visit Montana want to ensure that you have the resources needed to make informed travel decisions. We are taking precautions according to information and recommendations released by the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization and we encourage the traveling public to seek and heed the latest expert guidance.

TRAVEL RESPONSIBLY

 + Stay up-to-date on travel regulations and the COVID-19 situation using reliable sources like the CDC and the Montana Department of Public Health.

 + Plan ahead to ensure businesses and attractions are open.

+ Be respectful, kind, patient and prepared.

 + Continue to monitor the situation, and adjust plans when necessary.

PRACTICE ILLNESS PREVENTION

 + Wear a mask. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

 + Practice physical distancing.

 + Wash your hands frequently. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

 + Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue; dispose promptly; wash your hands.

 + Stay home if you’re sick.

 + Adhere to additional local health requirements that may be required at your destination.

If you have traveled to any destination during the past 14 days:

+ Monitor your health and practice social distancing.

+ If you get sick with a fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher), cough, or have trouble breathing:

+ Seek medical advice. Call ahead before going to a doctor's office or emergency room.

+ Tell your doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms.

+ Avoid contact with others.

+ Do not travel while sick.

We all want to enjoy exploring Montana, let's work together to keep each other safe and healthy. For more safety information visit Montana’s Travel Alerts. This page is being kept up-to-date by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development. Or view Glacier Country Tourism's travel alerts at glaciermt.com/travel-updates.

TRIBAL NATIONS

Tribal Nations in Montana continue to exercise caution to protect their elders and other vulnerable populations from the spread of COVID-19. All tribal lands are closed to visitors, in Western Montana that includes the Flathead Reservation and the Blackfeet Reservation. Visitors may drive through the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and the Flathead Indian Reservation; however, services may be limited or unavailable, and recreation areas on tribal lands have been closed to non-residents. Plan to save any on-reservation activity for a future visit.

Additionally, the eastern entrances to Glacier National Park will be closed for the summer. Specifically Chief Mountain, Cut Bank Creek, Many Glacier, St. Mary's, and Two Medicine.

Travelers are encouraged to contact the tribal governments for the latest information before beginning their trips in order to plan accordingly. Blackfeet Indian Reservation

Flathead Indian Reservation

TRAVEL FROM CANADA

To our friends in Canada wondering about crossing the U.S. border for a Montana visit: While we look forward to seeing you when the time is right, recreational visits are not permitted between the United States and Canada at this time. Please read more on our International Border Crossings page.


A Message From Glacier Country Tourism on COVID-19

Before I share with you what we are doing at Glacier Country Tourism, I want to take a moment to share with you an optimistic thought.

The challenge that this outbreak represents to you, and to your family, friends and community is unlike anything we have seen before. We find ourselves having to process our way through uncertainty, understandable anxiety and heightened risk. At some point though, hopefully sooner rather than later, the world will return to normal. Throughout history, people have always risen to meet whatever challenges have been thrown their way—usually emerging stronger than ever.

What is most important now is that you stay safe and healthy. To that end, here is what Glacier Country Tourism is doing to help share messaging about how to ensure the safety and health of our communities and industry.

Glacier Country Tourism is monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation closely. Montana public health agencies, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Travel Association and many other trusted agencies and associations are providing regular updates regarding the current status and its impact on the travel and tourism industry. We will be making every effort to help share current information about ongoing developments.

We are doing our best to keep our communities healthy and safe, which means incorporating a social distancing into our operations including our staff working from home. Our team and on-line visitor resources are fully operational and can be reached during normal business hours.

The travel industry has always been one of the first sectors of our economy to recover after a crisis and we will be here to ensure that happens as responsively as able.

Thank you for your flexibility and understanding as we face these challenging times together.

Racene Friede l President CEO


Press Release: Montana Tourism Industry Unites for ‘Montana Aware’ Campaign

Press Release: Montana Tourism Organizations Urge Mask-Wearing for Community and Economic Health


Montana Partner and Community Resources


August 6: COVID-19 Travel Data

August 4: The Latest on Coronavirus

July 30: COVID-19 Travel Data

July 28: The Latest on Coronavirus

July 23: COVID-19 Travel Data


Additional Resources

For up-to-date information:

For how to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

For how to protect yourself from scams related to COVID-19:

For information about the CARES Act:

For information from specific federal agencies and departments: 

Glacier Country Tourism offers my organization the opportunity to reach out-of-state prospects I’d not be able to reach on my own. Their social media reach is targeted and takes the worry and work away from what I could do alone. Best ROI on marketing money around.

- Shannon Brilz, University of Montana