Visitors and residents who arrive in Montana from another state or nation must self-quarantine for 14 days, the state said on Monday evening.
The new order was the first issued by Gov. Steve Bullock this week and follows a number of advisories from last week, including a travel warning, a stay-at-home directive, and the extended closure of schools and many businesses.
As of Monday night, the state had confirmed 177 positive cases of COVID-19, four deaths, nearly a dozen hospitalizations, and community spread in several cities and towns, including Missoula for the first time.
“While we love our visitors, we would ask that you not come visit while Montanans are watching out for one another by staying at home,” Bullock said. “This is important not only to protect our health care system, but also to protect against the spread of COVID-19.”
Tourism and visitation is Montana’s second largest economy, bringing billions of dollars into the state. But national parks, state parks and most other attractions are closed due to the pandemic, and most urban areas are under a shutdown that’s stiffer than the governor’s mandates.
Monday’s directive applies both to Montana residents and non-residents entering the state for travel that’s not related to work. It requires a self-quarantine for 14 days, or the duration of a non-work trip to Montana—whichever is shorter.
The Directive also instructs the Montana Department of Commerce to advise vacation listing and rental sites that they must notify out-of-state renters about the quarantine requirement. Health care workers are excluded from the directive.
Other states have set up roadblocks to register those who cross state lines, though Monday’s directive from the governor doesn’t go that far.
“As of today, travel from another state or country is the most common known source of COVID-19 infections in Montana” Bullock said. “I am asking anyone who is in Montana and has recently traveled from another state or country to do the right thing and self-quarantine for 14 days,” continued Governor Bullock.
The directive also authorizes the Montana National Guard to conduct temperature checks at Montana airports and rail stations. They can also screen for potential exposure history for travelers arriving in Montana from another state or country.
The new directive takes effect immediately and runs through April 10.