All articles in this COVID-19 Response Resource issue are effective as of March 30, 2020.

On March 26, 2020, Governor Bullock issued a “Stay at Home” Directive (Directive) for Montana that went into effect at 12:01 a.m. MDT on Sat., March 28, 2020. Currently, the Directive is in effect through April 10, 2020, though Governor Bullock has stated he will reassess the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state of Montana closer to that date and determine whether the Directive should be continued.

Who is affected by the Directive? Nearly everyone. Though Governor Bullock had already declared a State of Emergency for Montana, and had ordered the closure of numerous types of businesses, the new Directive expands the reach across industries and citizens. The entire text of the Directive can be found here.

Under the terms of the Directive, the following applies:

  • Essential Services and Businesses remain open and operational.
    • This includes, but is not limited to, health care operations, governmental functions, grocery stores, pharmacies, animal shelters, charitable organizations that provide food or housing for needy individuals, gas stations, construction projects, transportation services (including Uber and Lyft) and restaurants for consumption of food off-premises.
  • Montana citizens can leave their homes for “essential activities” which includes:
    • For health and safety (e.g., seeking medical supplies or medication for themselves or a household member; visiting a healthcare professional; seeking emergency services; etc.)
    • For necessary supplies and services (e.g., to get groceries and food, household consumer products, supplies needed to work from home and products for safety and sanitation)
    • For outdoor activity so long as social distancing is practiced (e.g., walking, hiking, running, biking, etc.)
    • For certain types of work (e.g., to carry out the operations of an Essential Business or Operation, or to continue “minimum basic operations” at a non-essential business)
    • To take care of others (e.g., to care for a family member, friend, or pet in another household, or to transport family members, friends or pets under the terms of the Directive)
  • All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a household or living unit are prohibited.
  • Non-essential businesses can maintain “minimum basic operations” including security of their physical location and inventory, processing payroll and maintaining systems and activities to facilitate employees working from home.
  • Social distancing shall be maintained where possible including keeping six-foot distances between individuals, using and providing access to hand sanitizer and sanitizing products, implementing separate operating house for vulnerable populations and giving online/remote access where available.

The Directive is meant to work in conjunction with the federal Department of Homeland Securities’ guidance on critical infrastructure. The Directive is a public health order and is enforceable by any county attorney in Montana.

If you have questions about how the Directive may affect your business or operations, please contact Liz Mellem by calling (406) 333-0530 or send an email to