GALLATIN COUNTY — Monday marks the start of Phase Two in the plan to reopen Montana, statewide including here in Gallatin County. Downtown Bozeman businesses weighed in on how they’re preparing for the big day.
“As we’ve moved along, now we’ve gone through that phase one, going to phase two's a lot easier,” said Chris Unger at the Bacchus Pub. “People are a little more comfortable and used to those restrictions.”
Phase Two for restaurants, bars, breweries and distilleries means keeping up with the same operational status as the first phase, but with increased capacity. They can now operate at 75% capacity, up from 50%.
Downtown businesses like the Bacchus Pub say business has been steady despite the limit, however they’re not back to full staff yet.
“We haven’t been able to have our full staff on just because we don’t need all the people. We want to make it worthwhile for the people that are working,” said Unger.
Businesses in Downtown Bozeman agree that allowing tourists to come in without the quarantine rule is the x-factor.
“Not having to have that 14 day break for everyone that’s coming into town, I think that will help us to be able to boost the economy here in Montana and especially here in Bozeman,” said Michael Ruhland, owner of Blend.
Strict cleaning and sanitation rules continue to be in play for Phase Two. And many businesses continue to have the same pickup and delivery services —including growlers of wine to take to go, and wine deliveries.
“With everything still going on if you have health risks, if you still want to be really careful you know you can come in here and fill up a growler, or you can even just pick up a bottle and take it to go. We can sanitize it for you and everything else,” said Ruhland.
At this point, we don’t know when Phase Three will begin, but businesses agree they’re happy to see things moving along.
“As long as we’re staying on this steady stream, then I think we’ll do really well. And I think we’ll come back with a lot of strength as Montanans have,” Ruhland said.
As a reminder, masks are not a requirement of the Gallatin City-County Health Department, but they are a CDC recommendation when social distancing cannot be maintained.