Montana Public Radio

Coronavirus

Find the latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana here. This post will be updated daily, with newer information at the top.

Montana's COVID-19 restrictions

You can also find more Montana-related coronavirus information from the state health department, as well as updates from the CDC and tips for preventing and dealing with COVID-19.

Updated 05/07/21

As of February 12, 2021, there is no statewide mask mandate in Montana, nor limits on business hours. However, more restrictive rules are in place in some localities.

Masks, social distancing and good sanitation practices are still recommended throughout the state.

Montana Coronavirus And COVID-19 News

May 7, 2021
The novel coronavirus.
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

05/07/21

New Montana Law Blocks Health Mandates That Affect Businesses

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed into law a bill Friday that prohibits actions — such as those taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus — that would affect the bottom line for businesses. As a result of the new law, both Lewis and Clark and Gallatin counties said they could no longer enforce mask mandates. Read more

COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake for Eligible Montanans by Age Group - 04-27-21
Credit: Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

A few counties across Montana are seeing notable spikes in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Flathead, Park and Cascade county health officials say the virus is affecting the old and young alike.

Sign on a business door that says 'Attention: for the safety of our patrons and employees, masks are required for entry. Thank you for helpping slow the spread of COVID-19.'
iStock

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed into law a bill Friday that prohibits actions — such as those taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus — that would affect the bottom line for businesses.

As a result of the new law, both Lewis and Clark and Gallatin counties said they could no longer enforce mask mandates.

Paycheck Protection Program's Funds Exhausted

May 5, 2021

The Paycheck Protection Program that’s given aid to businesses during the pandemic has run out of funding, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA will continue to fund already approved PPP applications.

The PPP provided Montana small businesses with nearly 42,000 loans totaling $2.5 billion since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The loans helped cover workers' paychecks during the COVID-19 related economic downturn and mandated shutdowns.

Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte announced Montana will stop providing additional unemployment benefits allowed during the coronavirus pandemic. This coincides with the state offering so-called return-to-work bonuses.

Gianforte says the measures are intended to incentivize Montanans to re-enter the job market amid a severe workforce shortage.

The governor’s office says Montana will opt out of providing enhanced unemployment benefits by July.

The Session Week 18: What Happened During Montana’s 2021 Legislative Session?

May 3, 2021

The 67th session of the Montana Legislature adjourned sine die Thursday, April 29. During lawmakers’ 80 days of work, 1,313 bills were introduced and as of mid-day Friday at least 302 had been signed into law.

COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in Montana in 2020, according to state data. Many of those who lost loved ones haven’t been able to grieve together. With the weather warming up and health guidelines easing, people are finding ways to mourn in public.

Montana lawmakers have accepted Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte’s changes to a bill preventing businesses and government agencies from denying people services or employment because of vaccination status. The president of the Montana Hospital Association remains worried the policy will upend provider safety procedures.

Moderna COVID vaccine in a small bottle
iStock

About 96% of Montanans who received their first COVID-19 vaccine are showing up for their second dose, according to the state health department. That’s slightly better than the national rate recently reported by federal health officials.

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