The Ravalli County Board of Health discussed Governor Steve Bullock's phased-in Reopening the Big Sky directives Thursday afternoon. The COVID-19 Incident Management Team will be implementing the state's plan, starting this Sunday.April 26, a lifting of the "Stay At Home" restrictions, but with STRONG encouragement for medically compromised and vulnerable people to stay out of the public. Churches are open, but still need to use the 6 foot distancing guidelines.April 27, retail stores and main street businesses will reopen, including salons, spas, personal care and pet grooming. There needs to be reduced capacity and physical distancing inside the businesses.May 4, restaurants, bars, breweries and distillers can open with reduced capacity, physical distancing and must be closed by 11:30 p.m.May 7, schools can open, but each local district is allowed to determine their opening date or whether they will finish the year with distance learning. The Ravalli County COVID-19 team will be meeting with district superintendents to discuss options.Things that DID NOT CHANGE: Protect the most vulnerable. Social distancing of 6 feet, wear masks, wash your hands frequently, sanitize, and if you feel sick - stay home. Out of state travelers need to self-quarantine for 14 days, the vulnerable need to stay home, minimize travel and strict protocols remain at long term care, assisted living establishments and hospitals.
Dr. Carol Calderwood said that wearing masks is even more important now, with increased possibilities of infection from opening the businesses. "Businesses are only going to succeed and we're only going to be able to move forward if everybody does their part." Be careful and don't bring the virus home with you. She said if you have questions call the State Hotline at 1-888-333-0461. The full, detailed directives are at the Ravalli County COVID website, including Reopening Phase One.
As of noon Thursday, April 23, Ravalli County had no new COVID-19 cases. Of the 5 positive tests, three persons have recovered and 2 others will be out of quarantine and isolation this weekend.