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Governor Steve Bullock today (April 7th) extended COVID-19 related directives through April 24th, which covers the stay at home order, school closures, on-premises dining and beverage operations, eviction and foreclosure suspensions, and the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for travelers coming into Montana for non-work-related travel.

The Governor then announced he was issuing a Directive to waive the current statutory requirements that local and county governments implement a 2-mill emergency levy and exhaust all available emergency levies before they are able to access state emergency/disaster funding.

The effects on our economy from the pandemic are substantial but currently unknown, and property taxpayers have been significantly impacted and should not be subject to additional levy requirements in the middle of this unprecedented situation. MACo and the Montana League of Cities & Towns worked with the Governor’s Office regarding this issue, and the Directive issued today will help offset some of the harm COVID-19 is causing Montana’s property taxpayers.  We’re hoping the $1.25 billion in federal funding that is coming to Montana from the CARES Act (signed into law March 27th) will help mitigate the impacts much further.

Please read the entirety of the Directive for further details.

The Governor announced another measure that will allow first responders to be notified in advance of potential exposure to COVID-19 and ensure they can take appropriate measures to safely perform their duties and avoid exposing other patients to the virus. The Directive provides clarification needed to notify law enforcement, firefighters, emergency care providers, corrections officers, or ambulance service attendants to be notified, when possible, before contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19. There is already an established protocol for notifying first responders after they’ve come into contact with someone who has been exposed.

If prior notification is not possible, the Directive also instructs state and local public health officials conducting investigations related to COVID-19 to prioritize notifying first responders who came into contact with the infected patient.

Please read the entirety of the Directive for further details.