All information in this COVID-19 Response Resource issue is effective as of April 28, 2020.

On April 22, 2020, Governor Steve Bullock announced his plan for the first portion of a phased reopening of Montana businesses and organizations in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning April 27, 2020, employers in Montana can begin to slowly reopen their businesses. Bars and restaurants are approved to resume limited service on May 4, 2020, and school districts may reopen on May 7, 2020.

The plan allows local authorities to adopt more restrictive measures on a county-by-county or trial basis, including by allowing each individual school district to determine whether the remainder of the academic year would involve continued distance learning for students. Businesses and residents should stay informed about what local public health officials are determining are appropriate guidelines in their local areas of Montana.

Of paramount importance is the Governor’s directive that employers should “[d]evelop and implement appropriate policies, in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations and guidance, and informed by industry best practices,” regarding (1) social distancing and protective equipment for workers; (2) temperature checks and/or symptom screening; (3) testing, isolating, and contact tracing in collaboration with public health authorities; (4) sanitation; and (5) use and disinfection of common and high-traffic areas.

Governor Bullock is also requiring employers to continue to encourage telework where possible; implement staggered or alternative shift scheduling to maintain social distancing; close common areas where personnel may congregate and interact; minimize non-essential business travel; and make accommodations for vulnerable populations. The Governor’s directive further breaks down specific requirements depending on the industry in which the employer operates.

Parsons Behle & Latimer’s attorneys are knowledgeable about the Governor’s directive and can help you implement its specific requirements at your place of business. Additionally, our attorneys have developed several policies for this type of reopening that can be customized to your business. For help to determine how the Governor’s directive affects your business, please contact Liz Mellem at (406) 333.0530 or send an email to