Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Montana, US, extend orders requiring residents to stay home, closure of nonessential businesses through at least April 24.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Billings, Montana
  • Butte, Montana
  • Bozeman, Montana
  • Great Falls, Montana
  • Helena, Montana
  • Kalispell, Montana
  • Missoula, Montana
  • Sidney, Montana
  • Baker, Montana
  • Havre, Montana
  • Glendive, Montana
  • Glasgow, Montana
  • Whitefish, Montana

This alert began 08 Apr 2020 11:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 24 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Montana (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 24
  • Impact: Movement restrictions, significant transport and business disruptions, heightened security

Summary
Montana Governor Steve Bullock extended orders requiring residents to stay at home, and nonessential businesses to close, until at least April 24, as part of the state's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The orders stipulate that residents must stay at home except to perform essential tasks, which include obtaining basic goods, attending a medical issue, caring for a person in need, performing outdoor recreational activities while maintaining proper distance from others, or going to work at an essential business or service. Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, fuel stations, and companies in agriculture, media, security, energy, transport, and manufacturing can maintain their in-person operations. Other businesses can only operate with their employees working from home. Restaurants can only offer delivery and pickup services.

Authorities in Montana also extended until April 24 the order requiring all persons entering the state for non-work related issues to self-quarantine for 14 days from the time of their arrival. People driving through the state en route to another destination are exempted.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measures. Officials could amend the order at short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Montana authorities are similar to actions adopted by other governments in the US and globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

Governor of Montana - Stay at Home Order: https://covid19.mt.gov

Governor of Montana - Quarantine Order: https://covid19.mt.gov

Governor of Montana - Orders' Extension: http://governor.mt.gov

Government of Montana - COVID-19 Updates: covid19.mt.gov