HELENA — Gov. Steve Bullock issued a shelter-in-place order for the State of Montana late this afternoon.
Bullock said the order, which goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, is meant to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.
The order tells Montana’s 1 million citizens to stay at home except to do essential activities, which include purchasing groceries or medication and working certain jobs.
As of Thursday, Montana has 90 cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.
“Montana still does have some of the lower numbers in the nation,” Bullock said during a news conference. “That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take this seriously or that we won’t see the curve go up in Montana.”
Under the shelter-in-place order, people will be still allowed to exercise outdoors near their homes. They must follow the previous orders banning nonessential social and recreational gatherings of more than 10 people outside a residence if a distance of at least 6 feet between people cannot be maintained.
“That means stay at home if you can,” Bullock said. “Don’t hang out in big groups. Stay 6 feet away from each other. Don’t go to the grocery story every single day.”
Montana previously closed its schools and restaurants and restricted people from gathering in groups of 10 or more. The shelter-in-place order coincides with the previous order, which runs through April 10.