Montana – Coronavirus State Actions

Governors are working closely with federal and local officials as well as private sector partners to address the threat of the novel coronavirus. This page lists select actions taken to date. It is not intended to be exhaustive but is meant to highlight key actions and resources that may inform other states and territories as they prepare for and respond to the novel coronavirus. All state actions can be viewed here, or visit Coronavirus: What You Need To Know for additional information and resources.


  • Montana DPHHS coronavirus resource page.
  • March 3, 2020—Governor Bullock activated the Governors’ Coronavirus Task Force to coordinate efforts across state government responding to COVID-19.
  • March 12, 2020—Governor Bullock declared a state of emergency, which gives him the authority to use $16 million dollars in state funds and additional personnel from the National Guard to respond to COVID-19.  
  • March 15, 2020 – The Governor issued guidance closing all public elementary and secondary education schools, limiting mass gatherings of more than 50 people and suspending visitors from all nursing homes. Additionally, the guidance increases the legal weight limit for commercial vehicles by 10%, in an effort to provide more supplies and resources for the state, as well as mobilizing the National Guard to respond when necessary.
  • March 16, 2020 – The Governor activated eight Montana Army National Guard soldiers to assist in the arrival and transport of Montana residents returning from quarantine.
  • March 17, 2020 – The Governor announced that uninsured residents who receive a recommendation from their provider will be eligible to receive coverage for COVID-19 testing and treatment.
  • March 17, 2020 – The Governor announced emergency rules to make unemployment benefits accessible to workers who have been laid off due to COVID-19, while also waiving the waiting period for receiving benefits.
  • March 18, 2020 – The Governor expanded access to telemedicine services to ensure Montana Medicaid patients receive quality health care in their homes to prevent unnecessary gatherings at health care facilities.
  • March 19, 2020 – The Governor issued a quarantine advisory of 14 days to all residents who have traveled internationally.
  • March 20, 2020 – The Governor announced measures to close dine-in food services, alcoholic beverage businesses, health clubs, and other facilities across the state.
  • March 20, 2020 – The Governor extended the payment and filing deadlines for 2019 individual income taxpayers to July 15 in accordance with the new federal filing deadline.
  • March 24, 2020 – The Governor announced new measures that give local governments the flexibility they need to adhere to social distancing guidelines, such as suspending certain office hour requirements in state law to allow for limited closures where local governments cannot safely operate within social distancing guidelines.
  • March 24, 2020 – The Governor issued a directive to extend closures of public schools and dine-in food service and alcoholic beverage businesses through April 10 as well as mandating social distancing measures.
  • March 26, 2020 – The Governor requested a waiver from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to allow Montana health care providers to adapt operations to respond to the emergency based on Montana’s specific and evolving need, such as making it easier to set up alternative testing or treatment sites, and expedited enrollment for new providers, and better information sharing and coordination to health trace and prevent the spread of COVID.
  • March 26, 2020 – The Governor issued a directive requiring Montanans to stay home and temporarily closes all nonessential businesses and operations.
  • March 30, 2020 – The Governor announced a 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving from another state or country to Montana for non-work-related purposes.
  • March 30, 2020- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Montana’s request for a Section 1135 Medicaid waiver. The approved waiver enables Montana to provide flexibilities in Medicaid provider screening and enrollment, forgo certain pre-admission screening and annual resident review assessments, lift prior authorization requirements, allow for reimbursement facility services in alternative settings, and extend fair hearing timelines.
  • March 31, 2020 – The Governor announced protections to lessen the economic impacts of this public health emergency, by stopping evictions, foreclosures and cancellation of utility services including water, heating and internet service.
  • March 31, 2020 – The Governor announced a directive that allows Montana hospitals and related facilities to receive financing, under the Montana Facility Finance Authority Act, to remain open and acquire the supplies needed to respond to this public health emergency.
  • April 2, 2020 – The Governor issued a Directive allowing residents to renew their driver’s licenses online and by mail and extended the deadline to complete title and registration paperwork.
  • April 3, 2020 – The Governor announced that, through the flexibility and funding of the CARES Act, he will extend federal food assistance to more than 100,000 Montanans, increase food supplies at emergency food pantries and food banks, and streamline nutrition assistance for new mothers and children.
  • April 7, 2020 – The Governor announced a 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.
  • April 7, 2020 – The Governor issued a directive to waive the current requirement that local and county governments implement a 2 mill emergency levy in order to access new funding coming to the state through the CARES Act.
  • April 7, 2020 – The Governor extended, through April 24, directives he previously issued to protect residents.
  • April 7, 2020 – The Governor announced the state successfully sold $33 million in bonds at a historically low interest rate that will allow the state to begin construction projects that will create jobs and stimulate the economy after this public health emergency.
  • April 2 — The Governor updated his essential business designation to include childcare workers in order to ensure consistent care for children of other essential workers.
  • April 13, 2020 – The Governor issued a Directive to provide emergency rental assistance to help families with limited financial resources make ends meet during this unprecedented economic situation. The program also includes relief funds specifically for households with children eligible for TANF.
  • April 14, 2020 – The Governor released a report produced by state epidemiologists examining 377 cases of COVID-19 in Montana that helps the state understand who is impacted by the new virus, how it spreads, and patient outcomes.
  • April 16, 2020 – The Governor announced a Coronavirus Relief Task Force that will provide guidance and advice on how to best use $1.25 billion appropriated to Montana through the Federal CARES Act.
  • April 20, 2020 – The Governor announced that 5,000 nasal swabs arrived to the state’s DPHHS warehouse from FEMA.
  • April 21, 2020 – The Governor announced that he secured hundreds of thousands of face masks, shields and gloves from private market distributors to fill the needs of front-line health care workers.
  • April 22, 2020 – The Governor announced a gradual and phased reopening of the state beginning Sunday, April 26 for individuals, and extending to businesses on Monday, April 27.
  • April 22, 2020 – The Governor issued two directives to increase frontline health care provider capacity to respond to COVID-19 and expand insurance coverage to allow Montanans to access routine health care services while social distancing.
  • April 27, 2020 – The Governor sent a letter U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary to allow some local processing in order to avoid food waste and get local meat to Montana food banks for residents hardest hit by this public health emergency.
  • April 30, 2020 – The Governor announced the state received a Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System to begin cleaning and disinfecting used N95 respirators.
  • April 30, 2020 – The Governor outlined a framework to ramp up testing capacity in Montana over the next several months with a goal to eventually conduct 60,000 tests per month and prioritize testing for vulnerable populations.
  • May 6, 2020 – The Governor announced $10 million in federal CARES Act funding is now available to Montana childcare providers.
  • May 11, 2020 – The Governor announced additional Phase One guidelines that will allow gyms and fitness studios, movie theaters and museums the option to reopen beginning Friday, May 15.
  • May 11, 2020 – The Governor announced he secured 19,500 swabs and 9,000 viral transport medium that have arrived from the federal government to support the effort to continue testing symptomatic residents.
  • May 13, 2020 -The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services is providing grants of up to $1,000 per individual to purchase equipment to assist Montanans with disabilities access telework equipment.
  • May 14, 2020 – The Governor announced he is directing $5 million in federal CARES Act funds to expand assistance to thousands of Montanans struggling to afford their home energy needs due to financial strain caused by the pandemic.
  • May 18, 2020 – The Governor announced that Montana received a shipment of 500,000 N95 masks from FEMA to the state’s warehouse. 
  • May 19, 2020 – The Governor announced the state will move to Phase Two of the Reopening the Big Sky plan and will lift the 14-day out-of-state travel quarantine beginning June 1.
  • May 22, 2020 – The Governor announced Montana’s unemployment rate was at 11.3% in April due to impacts created by the pandemic.
  • June 17, 2020 – The Governor announced the creation of the Montana Loan Deferment Program, which will allow businesses and other entities to defer payments on existing loans for six to twelve months and free up a significant amount of otherwise dedicated capital for the borrower to leverage on a monthly basis.
  • June 17, 2020 – The Governor announced $108,550 in grants to six organizations to continue operating emergency food services in response to the pandemic.
  • June 18, 2020 – The Governor visited the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, whose community testing event marks the completion of the first round of COVID-19 community testing in Montana’s tribal communities.
  • June 26, 2020 – The Governor announced that over $1 million in grant funding has been awarded from the Montana Agriculture Adaptability Program which is designed to provide relief to small and medium-sized food and agriculture businesses.
  • July 2, 2020 – The Governor released the Governor’s Plan for Reopening Safe and Healthy Schools for Montana to provide flexible guidance for public schools to prepare to offer in-person instruction in the fall.
  • July 15, 2020 – The Governor and First Lady announced that $83,750 through Montana No Kid Hungry has been awarded to 16 organizations to help with the cost of operating local summer meal programs across the state.
  • July 15, 2020 – The Governor issued a directive requiring face coverings in certain indoor spaces and for certain organized outdoor activities in counties currently experiencing four or more active cases.