The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

Statewide COVID-19 total at 53

First Case in Jefferson County reported Tuesday


March 25, 2020

There were 12 new cases of COVID-19 reported Monday, five Tuesday, and three Wednesday in Montana bringing the statewide total to 53. The first reported case in Jefferson County was announced Tuesday afternoon.

There are two reported cases in Madison County and 19 in Gallatin County.

Governor Steve Bullock announced Tuesday that school closures, as well as dine-in and bar restrictions would remain in effect till April 10.

Local businesses and organizations are continuing to be impacted by the spread of COVID-19.

On Monday, Whitehall Public Transportation Director Paula Hippert announced they have suspended services starting Wednesday. Hippert said this resulted in the layoff of six employees.

The Whitehall Soccer League and Baseball Leagues both announced last week they would be suspended until further notice.

The Whitehall Pharmacy at 203 W. Legion is keeping normal business hours in the fight against COVID-19. Delivery and curbside service are available. Also, residents are encouraged to download on your Smartphone the app RX Local For information call 287-3931. Please be patient as the call volume may be high and calls will be answered as quickly as possible.

To curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Montana, Governor Steve Bullock announced last Friday measures to close dine-in food service and alcoholic beverage businesses and other activities that pose enhanced health risks. The directive expires March 27, the same day that school closures are set to expire, though the date will likely be extended.

"Both young and older Montanans, in urban and rural communities, have tested positive for coronavirus, making it even more clear that this virus impacts us all and that these actions are imperative to protecting our friends and neighbors," said Governor Bullock. "We face extraordinary health risks – and with it even further risks to our economic and social well-being – if we do not act now. I do not take this decision lightly and it was done so in consultation with public health professionals. Montanans, too, need to take this seriously. It's up to all of us to stop the spread of this virus."

Under the Directive, the following places are closed to ingress, egress, use, and occupancy by members of the public:

• Restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, and other similar establishments offering food or beverage for on-premises consumption.

• Alcoholic beverage service businesses, including bars, taverns, brewpubs, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, special licensees, clubs, and other establishments offering alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.

• Cigar bars.

• Health clubs, health spas, gyms, aquatic centers, pools and hot springs, indoor facilities at ski areas, climbing gyms, fitness studios, and indoor recreational facilities.

• Movie and performance theaters, nightclubs, concert halls, bowling alleys, bingo halls, and music halls.

• Casinos.

The places subject to this Directive are permitted and encouraged to offer food and beverage using delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service, or drive-up service, and to use precautions in doing so to mitigate the potential transmission of COVID-19, including social distancing.

U.S. Senator Jon Tester is joining a bipartisan group of colleagues calling on federal agencies-including the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management-to mobilize their employees to assist with COVID-19 response in rural counties and tribal communities.

"Throughout rural America, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture employ thousands of federal civil servants who have the relevant experience to assist with emergency response," Tester and his colleagues wrote to the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, and FEMA. "...We believe these federal professionals are well suited to partner with rural counties and municipalities to enhance staff capacity and support communities facing this public health crisis. Therefore, in light of the national emergency declaration, we urge you to take immediate steps to ensure your agencies are working together to make your respective staff and resources available and able to assist with emergency response to COVID-19 across the country."

The U.S. Treasury Department announced last week they would be moving the tax deadline for individuals and businesses to July 15.

"The absolute last thing Montana families and businesses should be worrying about during a public health emergency is filing forms with the IRS," said Tester.


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