CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

Community Updates for Montana, Wyoming and the Western Dakotas

Contact us with community cancellations or updates:

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Montana State Fund Implementing Personal Protective Equipment Grant Program

Montana State Fund is implementing a personal protective equipment grant program designed to assist COVID-19 high-risk and vulnerable frontline businesses and workers. President/CEO Laurence Hubbard.

Yellowstone County Detention Facility Positive COVID-19 Cases Could Have Been Worse

A total of eight female inmates and one jail staffer tested positive for COVID-19 as of last week at the Yellowstone County Detention Facility. Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder.

Governor Steve Bullock Helping Tourism Recover During Phase 2 Of State Reopening Plan

Monday Montana entered into the second phase of Governor Steve Bullock's staggered approach to lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Part of the plan is to let tourists into the state and to that end Montana is doing whatever is necessary to keep everyone safe while opening the state up to business. Governor Steve Bullock.

4/H Livestock Stock Show To Go On Even If Montana Fair In Billings Can’t Due To COVID-19

Montana Fair is scheduled for Billings Aug. 7th through the 15th. If the public is not allowed in though due to COVID-19 restrictions the date would be condensed to just Aug. 15th for the 4-H Livestock Stock Show. 4-H/Youth Development County Agent for MSU Extension Yellowstone County Roni Baker.

Our Capitol City Correspondent On County Commissioners To Start Meeting In Person Again Starting Today

Coinciding with Phase 2 of the governor's order starting today the Lewis and Clark County Board of County Commissioners will start once again meeting in person and not via video conference. Details from our Capitol City Correspondent Troy Shockley.

Park County Health Officer On Precautions For Yellowstone National Park Visitors Starting Today

Phase 2 of the governor's reopen the state plan goes into effect today. With 70% of Yellowstone National Park visitors now able to enter through Montana Park County Health Officer Dr. Laurel Desnick says they're ready.

Senator Jon Tester Advises Graduating Students To Learn And Never Give Up On Their Goals

About the students graduating from high school this school year Senator Jon Tester has some advice that could be used by anyone looking into the future in these uncertain times.

Montana Historical Society To Open June 9th But Employees Have Been Busy In The Meantime

The Montana Historical Society will reopen to the general public June 9th. Public Information Officer Eve Byron says they've kept busy even when not open for walk in traffic.

Senator Steve Daines On President Trump’s Extending National Guard Orders

Senator Steve Daines urged President Donald Trump to extend orders long enough to protect benefits for National Guard service members responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and Trump did.

Governor Steve Bullock Talks About Yellowstone National Park Opening Montana Entrances Monday

Yellowstone National Park will open Montana's three entrances to the park Monday June 1st but the park will remain day-use only with no overnight camping or lodging in the park. In addition services to tourists will remain limited such as take-out food only. Governor Steve Bullock said this in a press-call Thursday afternoon.

Helena To Resume Bus Routes And Parking Enforcement June 1st Entering Phase 2

Helena will resume bus routes and parking enforcement June 1st as Montana enters Phase 2 of Governor Steve Bullock's reopening plan. Details from our Capitol City Correspondent Troy Shockley.

CEO/President Of Kalispell Regional Healthcare Offers Opinion On Coronavirus And The Future

A Western Caucus Foundation on Rural Health in Crisis webinar Wednesday afternoon included Representative Greg Gianforte Senator Steve Daines and Dr. Craig Lambrecht President and CEO of Kalispell Regional Healthcare. Dr. Lambrecht offered his best guess on the coronavirus pandemic and the future.

Billings Public School Levy In Legal Limbo Until Governor Steve Bullock Untangles It

In a legal dispute Billings Public Schools elementary district levy election question is up in the air after trustees wanted to push the election forward to July 7th. Yellowstone County Election Administrator Bret Rutherford explains the predicament.

Montana Legal Services Association’s Executive Director Alison Paul On Coronavirus Help

The coronavirus pandemic concerns health issues but also has the potential to cause legal problems. The Montana Legal Services Association's Executive Director Alison Paul.

Vehicle Insurance Premiums Are Less According To Montana Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale

You might have noticed that your vehicle insurance premium is less. Montana Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale.

Agreement Set Stage For Mining Company To Be Able To Donate 200 Reusable Gowns To Four Montana Medical Facilities

Sibanye-Stillwater with a matching gift from Wheaton Precious Metals has provided four Montana medical facilities with a gift of 200 SIMMS reusable gowns to help ensure health care workers have critical personal protective equipment. This comes after the recent 20th anniversary of when the Stillwater Mining Company an three community organizations in south-central Montana signed an agreement to protect local waterways and quality of life. Rancher and member of the Cottonwood Resource Council Paul Hawks was part of the original agreement.

National Association Of Attorneys General Urging Congress To Close Digital Divide Montana’s

The National Association of Attorneys General wrote a letter to Congress this week urging them to close the digital divide to ensure full internet connectivity as part of any additional legislation it might provide in the aftermath of COVID-19. Attorney General Tim Fox.

Carroll College To Begin Fall Semester Early As Capitol City Correspondent Troy Shockley Explains

Carroll College will begin this fall semester early to limit students' and faculty exposure to the coronavirus. Details from our Capitol City Correspondent Troy Shockley.

Highway Patrol Captain Tom Butler On Memorial Day Weekend With COVID-19 Ramifications

With the Memorial Day weekend upon us questions about the effect of COVID-19 on the traveling public. Montana Highway Patrol Captain Tom Butler.

Rural Electric Cooperatives Added To Paycheck Protection Program After Push From Congressional Delegation

Rural electric cooperatives are now eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program after Montana's congressional delegation pressured the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration to add them to the list. CEO of the Montana Electric Cooperative Association Gary Wiens.

Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony Canceled

The Missoula 2020 Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony scheduled for Thursday has been canceled to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The memorial is typically held during National Police Week a federally recognized observance of peace officers killed or wounded in the line of duty.

Big Sky Music Festival Rescheduled for July

The two-day Under the Big Sky Music Festival planned for July 18th and 19th just east of Whitefish at Big Mountain Ranch has been postpone until July 17th and 18th 2021. All tickets will be valid for the 2021 concert and those who retain their tickets will be treated to a special opening night concert. (Sounder) I’m Brian Bennett Northern News Network.

Spring Sports Canceled

The Montana High School Association has decided to cancel sports for spring 2020. This is the first time since 1934 that Montana has canceled a sports season. Montana is one of the last states to cancel spring sports. Eleven remaining state have suspended their spring sports including North Dakota through May 1st and Nevada through May 4th.  Wednesday Governor Steve Bullock announced a gradual re-opening of the state giving schools the option of returning to classes May 7th.

Zoo Montana Cancels Festival

The 2020 Billings Zoo Montana’s Renaissance Festival scheduled for June 6th and 7th has been canceled because of the Coronavirus Pandemic. The zoo stands to lose more than $40,000 because of the cancellation of its second largest fundraiser and the largest of its kind in Montana.

Shrine Circus Has Been Postponed

The 2020 Shrine Circus in Billings originally scheduled for April 1st through the 5th was postponed with no new date set yet. This afternoon at 1 o’clock though local performer Patrick Branger known as Pattycakes the clown will host a one-man virtual circus on Facebook Live.

Deer Lodge – Final Rialto Concert Canceled

The final concert of the Rialto Community Theater’s 2019-2020 series in Deer Lodge has been canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Stringfever quartet hopes to reschedule its entire Montana concert tour for next year.

Missoula – Spring Commencement Canceled

The COVID-19 pandemic is prompting the University of Montana to cancel its traditional spring commencement activities. The Office of Commissioner of Higher Education has decided there will not be on May 9th in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and UM President Seth Bodnar said so in a letter released today.

Red Ants Pants Cancels Festival

The Red Ants Pants Music Festival will be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This summer would have marked the 10th festival which is now scheduled for July 22nd through the 25th 2021. (Sounder) I’m Brian Bennett Northern News Network.

Miles City – Bucking Horse Sale Cancelled

The 2020 World Famous Miles City Bucking Horse Sale has been cancelled due to COVID-19. It would have been the 70th anniversary of Miles City’s “Cowboy Mardi Gras.” All 2020 refunds for ticket purchases sponsors and exhibitors will be processed  in a timely manner. All online ticket sales will be refunded to the funding source used to buy them originally. Tickets had already been sold to people in 19 different states and Canada.

State Bowling Tournaments Canceled

The Montana chapter of the United States Bowling Congress has cancelled all three state tournaments which were to begin Friday April 17th. They are the state Open at Westside Lanes in Missoula the Women’s tournament at Fireside and Sunset Lanes in Billings and the state Youth tourney at Little’s Lanes in Great Falls.

Montana – New Montana Covid-19 Website Launched

The state has launched a phone line at 1-888-333-0461 and Montanans can also email questions about coronavirus to covid 19 info at mt dot gov. A website has also been set up at COVID19.mt.gov where the number of confirmed cases is updated in the morning at 8 and in the afternoon at 4:30 daily.

Hamilton – Country Horseman Convention Canceled

Bitter Root Country Horsemen have canceled the state annual convention in Hamilton today through Sunday because of coronavirus. They will hold their raffle drawing Saturday details to be determined and may host the event in 2021.

Billings – PBR Billings Canceled

In light of COVID-19, the PBR Unleash The Beast’s Billings Invitational, on Friday, April 17, Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19 in Billings, Mont., has been canceled. Fans who purchased tickets will be able to receive a refund (less any applicable fees) from the original point of purchase for the next 30 days. Ticket refunds must be made in writing and original tickets must be returned to NILE office with the refund request for refund to be processed. Refund Information: For fans that purchased tickets through the NILE Office, please see ticketing refund information below. If you purchased tickets online or through the Metra Park Box Office, please contact purchaser directly. Steps to a Refund: Fill out the Request of Ticket Refund form Return tickets to: NILE P.O. Box 1981 Billings, MT 59103 Please allow 2-3 weeks for processing Requests for refunds must be complete by May 1, 2020. Questions? Please email Monica at monica@thenile.org

Butte – Consent Decree Hearing Postponed

Butte-Silver Bow commissioners were going to be asked this week to set a public hearing on the consent decree for April 1st but fears of COVID-19 has postponed that indefinitely. It will be rescheduled at some point before the council acts on the plan and anyone who wants to can weigh in.

Billings – Better Off In Billings Event Cancelled

Better Off in Billings (BOIB) Event, scheduled for April 16th at the Pub Station and Babcock Theater, has been cancelled. Big Sky Economic Development is committed to following the guidelines set out by the CDC, Unified Health Command and RiverStone Health, and their recommendation is to not have in-person events of this size.

Bigfork – Independent Film Festival Postponed

The fourth annual Bigfork Independent Film Festival schedule for April 3rd through the 5th has been postponed until October 2nd through the 4th out of concerns related to coronavirus. Tickets or passes already purchased for the festival will remain valid when the event is held but a refund will be issued to people who request one.

Montana – High School Spring Sports Suspended

The Montana High School Association suspended the spring sports season Monday including all practices contests meets and festivals indefinitely in response to the spread of COVID-19. The board will reevaluate the suspension April 13th.

Lewistown – Montana Agri-Women Annual Meeting Rescheduled

The Annual Meeting in Lewistown originally set for March 27th and 28th has been rescheduled for May 1st and 2nd

Lewistown – Montana Equine Annual Meeting Postponed

Montana Equine has postponed their scheduled Annual Meeting from March 19th, and plan to reschedule it for this summer.

Billings – 2nd Shift Postpones Bingo Night to May 8th

The 2nd Shift in Lockwood has postponed their KGHL Bingo Night originally scheduled for March 20th, to May 8th.