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Need some fresh air? Stay-at-home directive allows some outdoor activities

Posted at 8:36 AM, Mar 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-29 10:36:29-04

BUFFALO JUMP STATE PARK — The Stay at Home Directive began just after midnight on Saturday, telling Montanans to stay at home, except for approved essentials activities.

“We really are so lucky to live in a state where we have ample opportunities to access our public lands that remain open to recreation,” said Governor Steve Bullock at a press conference on Thursday.

The Stay at Home Directive began just after midnight on Saturday, telling Montanans to stay at home, except for approved essentials activities.

Montanans can leave the home for outdoor activities like walking, hiking, running or biking, but need to remember to practice social distancing.

“If we are all trying to keep a safe social distance from each other, we need to just spread out our trail use,” said E.J. Porth with the Gallatin Valley Land Trust.

That may mean finding a new favorite trail if your old favorite is too crowded.

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“There are so many incredible public trails in this valley within a 30 minute drive where ideally you can go hiking without seeing very many people at all.”

But not all of the Gallatin Valley’s outdoor areas are open at this time.

Yellowstone National Park closed, and the Custer-Gallatin National Forest has closed picnic areas, cabins, campgrounds and developed recreation sites as well.

Many Montana State Parks are still open for day-use only, but like national forests, restroom facilities are closed.

Use this time as an opportunity to go explore a new trail. Go somewhere different. Try something new.

Montanans are discouraged from outdoor recreation that has a higher risk of injury, so that local first responders can focus their attention on COVID-19 related emergencies.

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Essential businesses like healthcare, food and agriculture, transportation, public works and more as well as others are excluded from the directive’s measures.

Officials in Montana are keeping a list of confirmed cases in the Treasure State on an updated map and website - click here to visit the site.

Governor Bullock's order directs Montanans to stay home and temporarily closes all nonessential businesses and operations as efforts to curtail the spread of COVID-19. The order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, March 28, and will be in effect through Friday, April 10. Click here for complete details. The directive also prohibits all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a household or place of residence.

The order does not prohibit restaurants from continuing to offer take-out, curb-side, and delivery service.

Employees who are not sure if they are considered essential should talk with their manager/business owner. Business owners with questions can call at 1-800-755-6672 and leave messages 24-hours a day and will receive a prompt response, according to Bullock.