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Libby, Montana

Ignite the Nites Open Car Show August 14-15, 2009
Ignite the Nites Car Show Held in August

Governor Bullock issues a Stay at Home Directive
Effective Saturday, March 28th until April 10. Click on this link for more on this story.
Covid-19 Information
Covid-19 Information The Lincoln County Health Department has a hotline for Covid-19 information. They also post information on their Facebook page at LincolnMThealth. As of Sunday afternoon, March 29, four confirmed Covid-19 cases have been reported in Lincoln County. A Shelter in Place order was issued by Governor Bullock that took effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 28. Photo by Maggie Craig.
Reflection Pond along Bull River
Outdoor Activity Guidelines During this very challenging time with the coronavirus and Stay at Home order issued by Governor Bullock, here's a little reminder of how lucky we are to live where we do. Concerning outdoor recreation, this is taken from Governor Bullock's Stay at Home Directive of March 28 pertaining to permitted outdoor activity: " For outdoor activity. To engage in outdoor activity, provided that individuals comply with social distancing, as defined below, such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, running, or biking. Individuals may go to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas, including public lands in Montana provided they remain open to recreation. Montanans are discouraged from outdoor recreation activities that pose enhanced risks of injury or could otherwise stress the ability of local first responders to address the COVID-19 emergency (e.g., backcountry skiing in a manner inconsistent with avalanche recommendations or in closed terrain)." This photo was taken along the Bull River in mid-March. Click here for more (11) photos. Photo by Maggie Craig.

Headlines:
Highlights of March 29 White House Press Briefing
Lincoln County man first COVID-19 death in Montana
Glacier Park closed to park visitors
Recreate safely on FWP lands
MT Governor Bullock issues Stay at Home Directive to slow the spread of COVID-19
Drive-through coronavirus testing in Libby
Lincoln County resources for COVID-19 information
Lincoln County has first positive COVID-19 case
Schools and Business closure extended through April 10
Montana Emergency Unemployment Rules
Illegal Walleyes in Upper Thompson Lake likely came from Noxon Reservoir
Kootenai National Forest services during COVID-19 pandemic
2020 STOKR cancelled
MT FWP implements new social distancing policies
Lincoln County Library closure
FWP temporarily suspends hunter, bowhunter ed classes
MT Gov. closes K-12 schools due to COVID-19 concerns
FVCC cancels classes and events March 16-29

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April 25: Cabinet Peaks Health Fair (Cancelled): More info here on Facebook.

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Highlights of March 29 White House Press Briefing (posted 3/30/2020)
Health Guidelines extended to April 30th to slow the spread of COVID-19
LibbyMT.com
Click on this link to read the full remarks by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Members of the Coronavirus Task Force in the Press Briefing in the Rose Garden at the White House on Sunday, March 29, 2020. March 29 White House Press Briefing

Highlights:
- The modeling put together by Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci and our other top healthcare experts demonstrate that the mitigation measures we are putting in place may significantly reduce the number of new infections and, ultimately, the number of fatalities. Your selfless, inspiring, and valiant efforts are saving countless lives. You’re making the difference. The modeling estimates that the peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks. The peak, the highest point of death rates is likely to hit in two weeks. Therefore, the next two weeks, it’s very important that everyone strongly follow the guidelines. Therefore, we will be extending our guidelines to April 30th to slow the spread. On Tuesday, we will be finalizing these plans and providing a summary of our findings, supporting data, and strategy to the American people. We can expect that, by June 1st, we will be well on our way to recovery. Take heart and confidence in the fact that we have the best medical minds in the world tackling this disease. We have the best science, the best researchers, and the best talent anywhere working night and day to protect your family and loved ones and to overcome this pandemic.

- We have to really do a great job for another couple of weeks. We had the greatest economy in the history of the world three weeks ago, and now we’ve said, "Please don’t work anymore." We’re actually paying people not to work. Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx gave us a number, that 2.2 million people would have died if we didn’t do what we’re doing. Now we’re looking at numbers that are going to be much lower than that.

- On Friday, the FDA authorized a new test developed by Abbott Labs that delivers test results in as little as five minutes. Normally, the approval process from the FDA would take 10 months or longer, but this was done in four weeks. Abbott has stated that they will begin delivering 50,000 tests each day, starting this week.

- The United States is doing more testing than any other country anywhere in the world. It’s one of the reasons that we have more cases than other countries, because we’re doing more testing. It’s also one of the reasons that we’re just about the lowest in terms of mortality rate, because we’ve been doing more testing. So we have bigger numbers to look at. The deployment of rapid testing will vastly accelerate our ability to monitor, track, contain, and ultimately defeat the virus. It will also allow us to test doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers immediately and enable us to act quickly and aggressively to shut down the spread of the virus in critical facilities like hospitals and nursing homes.

- The Army Corps of Engineers, along with FEMA, built 2,900 beds’ worth of hospital in the Javits Center in New York in less than four days. It’s a complex, top-of-the-line hospital. Now they’re moving to other locations throughout the country where they already have people building hospitals.

- 1,100 patients in New York are being tested with hydroxychloroquine along with the Z-Pak, which is azithromycin. It’s very early yet, started two days ago. Will see what happens.

- The FDA is allowing the emergency use of a blood-related therapy called convalescent plasma as an experimental treatment for seriously ill patients. This treatment involves taking blood plasma from patients who have already recovered from the virus, meaning, their plasma is rich in antibodies against the virus, and transfusing it into six patients to boost their immune system. Early results are good, but we will see. Approvals for that came very quickly.

- We’re also looking at an approval for the sterilization of masks so they can be used a second, third, fourth time. A company in Ohio is in the final process of getting approval for the sterilization of masks, some which might be able to be sterilized up to 20 times. They are working on getting a fast approval for the sterilization of masks.

- Still working to try to find a vaccine.

- Vaccines are an answer, but also looking into something therapeutically to care for the people that are already sick. This is a blood-related therapy.

- A facility in North Carolina is now manufacturing an additional 40 to 50 million masks per month to get into the U.S. healthcare system.

- FEMA is working with private companies to launch Project Airbridge to expedite the movement of critical supplies from other countries to the United States. The first flight arrived at JFK Airport, New York, this morning, filled with 80 tons of personal protective equipment, including 130,000 N95 respirators, 1.8 million face masks and gowns, 10.3 million gloves, and many other things. FEMA has scheduled 19 additional flights and is adding more daily. We hope to have about 50 flights. We’re going to have up at 51 flights with these massive planes from the different companies.

- UPS is one of the companies helping with the distribution effort. Their Big Brown army, 495,000 UPSers across the country, are bringing in the supplies from around the world as fast as they can to serve the communities that need them most.

- The USNS Comfort departed from New York three weeks ahead of schedule, fully loaded with 12 operating rooms, 1,000 hospital beds, and hundreds of the best doctors, nurses, and medical professionals anywhere in the United States.

- Two of the country’s largest health insurers, Humana and Cigna, are announcing that they will waive co-pays, coinsurance and deductibles for the coronavirus treatments to help ease the financial burden on American families during this pandemic.

- I’ve directed my staff to use any and all authority available to give restaurants, bars, clubs incentives to stay open. We’re looking into the restoring of the deductibility of meals and entertainment costs for corporations. We’re going to go to deductibility so that companies can send people to restaurants. I think it’ll have a tremendous impact and maybe keep them open. By restoring the deductibility of meals and entertainment costs for corporations, they can send people to restaurants and take a deduction on it.

- We have reviewed 12 different models. All of the flu models predicted anywhere between 1.6 and 2.2 million fatalities, if we didn’t mitigate. Some of them predicted half of the United States would get infected and have that level of mortality.

- The financial relief bill signed on Friday provides historic relief for American workers and small businesses, and it includes $350 billion in job restoration and retention with loan forgiveness available for businesses that continue paying workers. Three hundred billion dollars in direct cash payments are being sent to every American citizen earning less than $99,000 per year; $3,400 for the typical family of four. Approximately $250 billion in expanded unemployment benefits. Under this plan, the average worker who has lost his or her job will receive 100 percent of their salary for up to four full months. The bill provides for these unemployment checks to be delivered through the existing state unemployment systems, not us.

- Regarding rents, as the first of the month is three days away. What should people be doing for the first of the month? People are going to be getting money. The President hopes landlords are going to take it easy. A lot of people that are owed money are going to take it easy. They don’t, sort of, have a choice. A lot of concessions are being made that wouldn’t have even been thought of three weeks ago.

- The President said the money from these relief loans to private companies will come back. The government will also take warrants, meaning, the government will take pieces of the company for the taxpayers of our nation.

- We truly do believe that while there are challenges in the weeks ahead, there is hope that as every American continues to put these guidelines into practice, as every single one of us continues to do our part, that we’ll get through this.


Lincoln County man first COVID-19 death in Montana (posted 3/26/2020)
A 77-year old man from Lincoln County is the first confirmed death from COVID-19 in Montana. He died on Thursday, March 26th, in a hospital in Kalispell. The man and his wife reportedly live on Bull Lake. He got sick on Monday after returning from a road trip to California. Click on the links below for more stories.

Related Links:
Lincoln County resident confirmed as first COVID-19 death in Montana MTN News, March 27, 2020
Lincoln County man is first COVID-19 fatality in Montana By Duncan Adams, www.thewesternnews.com, March 27, 2020
77-year-old Libby Man First Montana Coronavirus Death By AP, March 27, 2020


Glacier Park closed to park visitors (posted 3/26/2020)
National Park Service
Glacier National Park is announcing additional modifications to operations in response to guidance from Flathead County, MT, Glacier County, MT, Blackfeet Nation, and the State of Montana. The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners is our number one priority. The National Park Service (NPS) is working service-wide with federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic.

Effective at 5 pm on March 27, 2020, Glacier National Park will be closed to all park visitors until further notice. There will be no visitor access permitted to the park. US Highway 2 inside the park boundary will remain open. We will notify the public when we resume full operations and provide updates on our website and social media channels.

"The National Park Service listened to the concerns from our state, county, and tribal partners and, based on current health guidance, temporarily closed the park," said Glacier Superintendent Jeff Mow. "We will continue to work with our state, county, and tribal partners as this crisis continues and we will coordinate with them on when it will be safe to reopen the park."
• The NPS encourages people to take advantage of the many digital tools already available to explore Glacier National Park, including:
Glacier online via webcams, audio tours, photo galleries, and videos.

Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. Please check with www.nps.gov/glac for specific details about park operations.
_______________________________________

Editor’s note: Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks closed to the public on Tuesday, March 24th at the strong urging and request of the surrounding gateway communities.


Recreate safely on FWP lands (posted 3/27/2020)
Open for day use only
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Montanans are lucky to have so many opportunities to get outdoors and recreate, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. And while Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks encourages recreation outside, we also encourage careful planning and prudence. The safety of the public and FWP staff is of utmost concern.

As a reminder, social distancing guidelines should be followed at all FWP sites. Keep your distance from fellow recreators. If a parking lot at a fishing access site or state park is full, consider another place to recreate. Also, in keeping with Gov. Steve Bullock’s directive, FWP asks that all people stay close to home and recreate in their local community.

State parks, fishing access sites and wildlife management areas remain open for day use only.
• Overnight camping will not be allowed. Campgrounds will be systematically closed, giving current campers 72-hour notice
• Group use sites will be closed, including playgrounds
• Visitor center closures will be extended at least through April 10
• Bathrooms at many locations will be limited due to public and employee safety concerns, because of the current lack of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies. Sites will be regularly patrolled by enforcement staff.
• Specific sites may close to address groups gathering, public health and safety, FWP employee safety or resource damage.

At this time, regularly scheduled hunting seasons are not cancelled. This includes spring turkey season, which starts April 11, and spring bear season, which starts April 15. However, hunters should practice social distancing and all COVID-19 response directives from the governor, including limiting group gatherings and keeping six feet away from people.

Hunters should also keep this in mind when planning for their hunts. If hunting on private land, landowner permission is required, but should be sought by email or phone, not in person.

"These are trying times for everyone, and we all know that going outside is one important way to stay healthy," said FWP director Martha Williams. "Like the governor, I trust Montanans to understand the importance of social distancing while recreating outside. Stay close to home when looking for a place to recreate, and please follow the governor’s directives."

As a reminder, the deer and elk application deadline is April 1. FWP offices are closed to public access, but anglers and hunters can purchase licenses or apply online. For those who need assistance with their purchase, please call the FWP licensing center at 406-444-2950. Visitor centers and public meeting spaces at offices, state parks and fish hatcheries are also temporarily closed.

Please help FWP protect the resources that are so valuable to all Montanans.


MT Governor Bullock issues Stay at Home Directive to slow the spread of COVID-19 (posted 3/26/2020)
In effect through Friday, April 10
On Thursday, March 26th, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock issued a shelter-in-place order, a measure meant to keep the state's 1.06 million residents at home in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The order takes effect Saturday, March 28th at 12:01 a.m. It expires April 10th.

The Directive requires Montanans to stay home and temporarily closes all nonessential businesses and operations in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19. The order is intended to buy time for health care workers on the front lines and seeks to limit long-term impacts to the state’s economy.

"In consultation with public health experts, health care providers, and emergency management professionals, I have determined that to protect public health and human safety, it is essential, to the maximum extent possible, individuals stay at home or at their place of residence," said Governor Bullock. "There’s no doubt that COVID-19 is causing a lot of hardship. It’s also causing incredible hardships for our frontline doctors, nurses and other hospital staff across the country."

The Directive will be in effect through Friday, April 10 and requires all businesses and operations in Montana, except for essential businesses and operations as defined in the directive, to stop all activities within the state.

The Directive also prohibits all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a household or place of residence.

"I am taking these measures today because we need to stay in front of this pandemic and slow the growth of infections. In order to have a healthy economy we need a healthy population. We cannot rebuild our economic strength without doing everything we can now to flatten the curve and slow the spread of this virus," continued Governor Bullock.

Essential services and businesses will remain operational and open. Businesses deemed essential are required to comply with social distancing guidelines when possible including maintaining six feet of distance, having sanitizing products available, and designating hours of operation specifically for vulnerable populations.

Under the directive, Montanans may leave their homes for essential activities, including:
For health and safety. To engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets), such as, by way of example only and without limitation, seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or medication, or visiting a health care professional.
For necessary supplies and services. To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others, such as, by way of example only and without limitation, groceries and food, household consumer products, supplies they need to work from home, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences
For outdoor activity. To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with social distancing, as defined below, such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, running, or biking. Individuals may go to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas, including public lands in Montana provided they remain open to recreation. Montanans are discouraged from outdoor recreation activities that pose enhanced risks of injury or could otherwise stress the ability of local first responders to address the COVID-19 emergency (e.g., backcountry skiing in a manner inconsistent with avalanche recommendations or in closed terrain).
For certain types of work. To perform work providing essential products and services at Essential Businesses or Operations or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted in this Directive, including Minimum Basic Operations.
To take care of others. To care for a family member, friend, or pet in another household, and to transport family members, friends, or pets as allowed by this Directive.

The Directive follows federal guidance to determine what businesses and operations are deemed essential.

The guidance on what is considered Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce can be found here: https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce

Click on this link to read the full Directive.

Below is the full text of the Directive.
________________________________

TO: Montanans; all officers and agencies of the State of Montana
FROM: Governor Steve Bullock
DATE: March 26, 2020
RE: Directive Implementing Executive Orders 2-2020 and 3-2020 providing measures to stay at home and designating certain essential functions

Executive Orders 2-2020 and 3-2020 declare that a state of emergency exists in Montana due to the global outbreak of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus.

Section 10-3-104(2)(a), MCA, authorizes the Governor, during a state of emergency, to "suspend the provisions of any regulatory statute prescribing the procedures for conduct of state business or orders or rules of any state agency if the strict compliance with the provisions of any statute, order, or rule would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the emergency or disaster." Further, it authorizes the Governor to "control ingress and egress to and from an incident or emergency or disaster area, the movement of persons within the area, and the occupancy of premises within the area." Section 10-3-104(2)(c), MCA. Montana’s public health laws also authorize the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS or Department), acting under the Governor’s direction, to "issue written orders for correction" of "conditions of public health importance," to "prevent and mitigate conditions of public health importance" through measures including "isolation and
quarantine" and "abatement of public health nuisances." Section 50-1-202, MCA. The Department, under the Governor’s direction, may also take action to correct public health deficiencies in "buildings or facilities where people congregate." Section 50-1-203, MCA. The Department, under the Governor’s direction, is also authorized to impose quarantine and isolation measures to protect public
health. Section 50-1-204, MCA. Montana law provides that these authorities will be utilized to respond to an "outbreak of disease," § 10-3-103(4), MCA, and to "limit the transmission of the communicable disease." See, e.g., § 50-1-101(6), MCA.

COVID-19 is a contagion that most frequently spreads person to person. The virus may live on surfaces and remain in the air after someone coughs or sneezes for an unknown period of time, creating a range of opportunities for exposure. Exposure can also happen when a person touches a surface or object that has the live virus on it and then touches one’s face. Montana currently faces an emergency statewide, with infections or the imminent threat of infections present across the state. Accordingly, for the preservation of public health and safety throughout the entire State of Montana, to protect those most at-risk, and to avoid overwhelming our health care delivery system, I have determined that additional measures consistent with public health guidance are necessary to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19.

To curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Montana, and to protect the health and economic wellbeing of all Montanans, it is necessary immediately to implement measures to ensure social distancing to prevent the spread of disease. Such an approach will reduce the overall number of infections in the state and preserve increasingly scarce health care resources. In consultation with public health experts, health care providers, and emergency management professionals, I have determined that to protect public health and human safety, it is essential to the health, safety, and determined that to protect public health and human safety, it is essential to the health, safety, and
welfare of the State of Montana during the ongoing state of emergency that, to the maximum extent possible, individuals stay at home or at their place of residence.

Pandemics are not without precedent in Montana. Neither are the measures necessary to stop the spread of communicable disease and respond to the emergency. During the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918, public health authorities closed schools and other public places. These measures can save
lives across the United States now. Montana must act now, before its own rate of infection mirrors that of other states. While the times ahead will not be easy, Montanans have always pulled together in times of crisis. This crisis is no different, and will require all Montanans, collectively, to do their individual part to slow the growth of COVID-19 infections and protect their friends, family, and neighbors from this dangerous infection.

In accordance with the authority vested in me under the Constitution, Article VI, Sections 4 and 13, and the laws of the State of Montana, Title 10, Chapter 3 and Title 50, Chapter 1, MCA, and other applicable provisions of the Constitution and Montana Law, I hereby direct the following measures be in place in the State of Montana effective statewide at 12:01 a.m. on March 28, 2020, through April 10,
2020:

I. Stay at Home; Social Distancing Requirements; and Essential Businesses and Operations

1. Stay at home or place of residence. With exceptions as outlined below, all individuals currently living within the State of Montana are directed to stay at home or at their place of residence to the greatest extent possible, except as allowed in this Directive. As used in this Directive, homes or residences include hotels, motels, shared rental units, shelters, and similar facilities.

Non-essential social and recreational gatherings of individuals outside of a home or place of residence are prohibited, regardless of size, if a distance of at least six feet between individuals cannot be maintained.

All persons may leave their homes or place of residence only for Essential Activities or to operate Essential Businesses and Operations, all as defined below.

Individuals whose residences are unsafe or become unsafe, such as victims of domestic violence, are permitted and urged to leave their home and stay at a safe alternative location.

2. Non-essential business and operations to cease. All businesses and operations in the State, except Essential Businesses and Operations as defined below, are required to cease all activities within the State except Minimum Basic Operations, as defined below. Businesses may also continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e., working from home).

To the greatest extent feasible, Essential Businesses and Operations shall comply with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Directive, including by maintaining six-foot social distancing for both employees and members of the public at all times, including, but not limited to, when any customers are standing in line. Essential Businesses and Operation should also employ, where feasible, telework or other remote working opportunities to limit disease spread.

3. Prohibited activities. All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a household or living unit are prohibited, except for the limited purposes permitted by this Directive.

The March 24, 2020 Directive that closes certain businesses to ingress, egress, and occupancy by the public, while expanding delivery and to-go options, remains in effect. However, the portions of that order requiring social distancing (Section 1) and social distancing guidelines for retail businesses (Section 3) are superseded by the requirements in this Directive.

4. Prohibited and permitted travel. All travel should be limited to Essential Travel and travel for Essential Activities. People riding on public transit must comply with social distancing to the greatest extent feasible. When individuals need to leave their homes or residences, they should at all times maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any person who is not a member of their immediate household, to the greatest extent possible.

5. Leaving your home for essential activities is permitted. For purposes of this Directive, individuals may leave their home or residence only to perform any of the following Essential Activities and must ensure a distance of six feet from others not in their household:

For health and safety. To engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets), such as, by way of example only and without limitation, seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or medication, or visiting a health care professional.

For necessary supplies and services. To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others, such as, by way of example only and without limitation, groceries and food, household consumer products, supplies they need to work from home, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.

For outdoor activity. To engage in outdoor activity, provided that individuals comply with social distancing, as defined below, such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, running, or biking. Individuals may go to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas, including public lands in Montana provided they remain open to recreation. Montanans are discouraged from outdoor recreation activities that pose enhanced risks of injury or could otherwise stress the ability of local first responders to address the COVID-19 emergency (e.g., backcountry skiing in a manner inconsistent with avalanche recommendations or in closed terrain).

For certain types of work. To perform work providing essential products and services at Essential Businesses or Operations or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted in this Directive, including Minimum Basic Operations.

To take care of others. To care for a family member, friend, or pet in another household, and to transport family members, friends, or pets as allowed by this Directive.

6. Health Care and Public Health Operations. For purposes of this Directive, individuals may leave their residence to work for or obtain services through Health Care and Public Health Operations.

Health Care and Public Health Operations includes, but is not limited to: hospitals; clinics; dental offices; pharmacies; public health entities, including those that compile, model, analyze and communicate public health information; pharmaceutical, pharmacy, medical device and equipment, and biotechnology companies (including operations, research and development, manufacture, and supply chain); organizations collecting blood, platelets, plasma, and other necessary materials; licensed medical cannabis dispensaries and licensed cannabis cultivation centers; reproductive health care providers; eye care centers, including those that sell glasses and contact lenses; home Health Care services providers; mental health and substance use providers; other Health Care facilities and suppliers and providers of any related and/or ancillary Health Care services; and entities that transport and dispose of medical materials and remains.

Specifically included in Health Care and Public Health Operations are manufacturers, technicians, logistics, and warehouse operators and distributors of medical equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE), medical gases, pharmaceuticals, blood and blood products, vaccines, testing materials, laboratory supplies, cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting or sterilization supplies, and tissue and paper towel products.

Health Care and Public Health Operations also includes veterinary care and all Health Care services provided to animals.

Health Care and Public Health Operations shall be construed broadly to avoid any impacts to the delivery of Health Care, broadly defined. Health Care and Public Health Operations does not include fitness and exercise gyms, spas, salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, and similar facilities.

7. Human Services Operations. For purposes of this Directive, individuals may leave their residence to work for or obtain services at any Human Services Operations, including any provider funded by DPHHS, or Medicaid, that is providing services to the public and including state-operated, institutional, or community-based settings providing human services to the public.

Human Services Operations includes, but is not limited to: long-term care facilities; residential settings and shelters for adults, seniors, children, and/or people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, and/or mental illness; transitional facilities; home-based settings to provide services to individuals with physical, intellectual, and/or developmental disabilities, seniors, adults, and children; field offices that provide and help to determine eligibility for basic needs including food, cash assistance, medical coverage, child care, vocational services, rehabilitation services; developmental centers; adoption agencies; businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged individuals, individuals with physical, intellectual, and/or developmental disabilities, or otherwise needy individuals.

Human Services Operations shall be construed broadly to avoid any impacts to the delivery of human services, broadly defined.

8. Essential Infrastructure. For purposes of this Directive, individuals may leave their residence to provide any services or perform any work necessary to offer, provision, operate, maintain and repair Essential Infrastructure. Essential Infrastructure includes, but is not limited to: food production, distribution, storage, and sale; construction (including, but not limited to, construction required in response to this public health emergency, hospital construction, construction of long-term care facilities, public works construction, and housing construction); building management and maintenance; airport operations; aircraft fueling services; operation and maintenance of utilities, including water, sewer, and gas; electrical (including power generation, distribution, and production of raw materials); distribution centers; oil and biofuel refining; roads, highways, railroads, and public transportation; cybersecurity operations; flood control; operation of dams, locks, ditches, canals, diversions, and levies; solid waste and recycling collection and removal; and internet, video, and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services).

Essential Infrastructure shall be construed broadly to avoid any impacts to essential infrastructure, broadly defined.

9. Governmental Functions. All first responders, emergency management personnel, emergency dispatchers, court personnel, law enforcement and corrections personnel, hazardous materials responders, child protection and child welfare personnel, fire protection personnel, wildland fire fighters, housing and shelter personnel, military, government employees involved in training the above functions, and other government employees are categorically exempt from this Directive. For purposes of this Directive, state government employees are categorically exempt from this Directive. Local governments are permitted to designate which functions and employees are essential and exempt for the purposes of this Directive, apart from those positions and functions named above.

This Directive does not apply to the United States government. Nothing in this Directive shall prohibit any individual from performing or accessing Essential Governmental Functions.

Nothing in this Directive shall be interpreted or applied in a way that interferes with or supersedes tribal sovereignty.

10. Businesses covered by this Directive. For the purposes of this Directive, covered businesses include any for-profit, non-profit, or educational entities, regardless of the nature of the service, the function it performs, or its corporate or entity structure.

11. Essential Businesses and Operations. For the purposes of this Directive, Essential Businesses and Operations means Health Care and Public Health Operations, Human Services Operations, Essential Governmental Functions, and Essential Infrastructure, and the following:1

a. Stores that sell groceries and medicine. Grocery stores, pharmacies, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of groceries, canned food, dry goods, frozen foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supplies, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This includes stores that sell groceries, medicine, including medication not requiring a medical prescription, and also that sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and Essential Businesses and Operations;
b. Food and beverage production and agriculture. Food and beverage manufacturing, production, processing, and cultivation, including farming, livestock, fishing, baking, and other production agriculture, including cultivation, marketing, production, and wholesale or retail distribution of animals and goods for consumption; licensed medical cannabis dispensaries and licensed cannabis cultivation centers; and businesses that provide food, shelter, and other necessities of life for animals, including veterinary and animal health services, animal shelters, rescues, shelters, kennels, and adoption facilities; businesses that provide equipment, transportation, seed, feed, fertilizer, or other products or services critical to food and livestock production;
c. Organizations that provide charitable and social services. Businesses and religious and secular nonprofit organizations, including food banks, when providing food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, individuals who need assistance as a result of this emergency, and people with disabilities;
d. Media. Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
e. Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation. Gas stations and auto supply, auto repair, and related facilities and bicycle shops and related facilities;
f. Financial and real estate services and institutions. Banks, consumer lenders, including but not limited, to pawnbrokers, accountants, consumer installment lenders and sales finance lenders, credit unions, appraisers, realtors or others providing real estate services, title companies, financial markets, trading and futures exchanges, affiliates of financial institutions, entities that issue bonds, related financial institutions, and institutions selling financial products;
g. Hardware and supply stores. Hardware stores and businesses that sell electrical, plumbing, and heating material;
h. Critical trades. Building and Construction Tradesmen and Tradeswomen, and other trades including but not limited to plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses and Operations;
i. Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services. Post offices and other businesses that provide shipping and delivery services, and businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, goods or services to end users or through commercial channels;
j. Educational institutions. Educational institutions—including public and private pre-K-12 schools, colleges, and universities—for purposes of facilitating remote learning, performing critical research, or performing other essential functions consistent with prior Directives on school closures and the continued provision of certain services, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible. This Directive is consistent with and does not amend or supersede the March 24, 2020 Directive closing non-residential public schools through April 10, 2020;
k. Laundry services. Laundromats, dry cleaners, industrial laundry services, and laundry service providers;
l. Restaurants for consumption off-premises. Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for consumption off-premises, through such means as in-house delivery, third-party delivery, drive-through, curbside pick-up, and carry-out. Schools and other entities that typically provide food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Directive on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick- up and takeaway basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site due to the virus’s propensity to physically impact surfaces and personal property.

This exception is to be interpreted consistent with the restrictions on on-premises dining and beverage businesses, as well as the expanded options for delivery and take out, provided in the March 24, 2020 Directive, Section 2.;

m. Supplies to work from home. Businesses that sell, manufacture, or supply products needed for people to work from home;
n. Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations. Businesses that sell, manufacture, or supply other Essential Businesses and Operations with the support or materials necessary to operate, including computers, audio and video electronics, household appliances; IT and telecommunication equipment; hardware, paint, flat glass; electrical, plumbing and heating material; sanitary equipment; personal hygiene products; food, food additives, ingredients and components; medical and orthopedic equipment; optics and photography equipment; diagnostics, food and beverages, chemicals, soaps and detergent; and firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers for purposes of safety and security;
o. Transportation. Airlines, taxis, transportation network providers (such as Uber and Lyft), vehicle rental services, paratransit, and other private, public, and commercial transportation and logistics providers necessary for Essential Activities and other purposes expressly authorized in this Directive;
p. Home-based care and services. Home-based care for adults, seniors, children, and/or people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, and/or mental illness, including caregivers such as nannies who may travel to the child’s home to provide care, and other in-home services including meal delivery;
q. Residential facilities and shelters. Residential facilities and shelters for adults, seniors, children, and/or people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, and/or mental illness;
r. Professional services. Professional services, such as legal services, accounting services, insurance services, information technology services, real estate services (including appraisal and title services);
s. Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries. Manufacturing companies, distributors, and supply chain companies producing and supplying essential products and services in and for industries such as pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, Health Care, chemicals and sanitization, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, forest products, mining, construction, national defense, communications, as well as products used by other Essential Businesses and Operations.
t. Critical labor union functions. Labor union essential activities including the administration of health and welfare funds and personnel checking on the wellbeing and safety of members providing services in Essential Businesses and Operations – provided that these checks should be done by telephone or remotely where possible.
u. Hotels and motels. Hotels and motels, to the extent used for lodging and delivery or carry-out food services.
v. Funeral services. Funeral, mortuary, cremation, burial, cemetery, and related services.

12. Social Distancing Requirements for Essential Businesses and Operations. Essential Businesses and Operations and businesses engaged in Minimum Basic Operations must take proactive measures to ensure compliance with Social Distancing Requirements, including where possible:

a. Designate six-foot distances. Designating with signage, tape, or by other means six- foot spacing for employees and customers in line to maintain appropriate distance;
b. Hand sanitizer and sanitizing products. Having hand sanitizer and sanitizing products readily available for employees and customers;
c. Separate operating hours for vulnerable populations. Implementing separate operating hours for elderly and vulnerable customers; and
d. Online and remote access. Posting online whether a facility is open and how best to reach the facility and continue services by phone or remotely.

13. Minimum Basic Operations. For the purposes of this Directive, Minimum Basic Operations include the following, provided that employees comply with Social Distancing Requirements, to the extent possible, while carrying out such operations:

a. The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, preserve the condition of the business’s physical plant and equipment, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions.
b. The minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.

14. Essential Travel. For the purposes of this Directive, Essential Travel includes travel for any of the following purposes:

a. Any travel related to the provision of or access to Essential Activities, Essential
Businesses and Operations, or Minimum Basic Operations.
b. Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons.
c. Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services.
d. Travel to return to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction.
e. Travel required by law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement.
f. Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the State.
Individuals are strongly encouraged to verify that their transportation out of the State remains available and functional prior to commencing such travel.

15. Intent of this Directive. The intent of this Directive is to ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling essential services to continue, to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the greatest extent possible. These measures are designed to end the epidemic as early as possible, and to protect the well-being of Montanans by returning to the course of business and everyday life as soon as is practicable and safe. When people need to leave their places of residence, whether to perform Essential Activities, or to otherwise facilitate authorized activities necessary for continuity of social and commercial life, they should at all times and as much as reasonably possible comply with Social Distancing Requirements. All provisions of this Directive should be interpreted to effectuate this intent.

II. Directive Is Public Health Order and Enforceable By County Attorney
• This Directive, along with any prior Directive that implements and references the public health authorities of the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) provided in Title 50, constitutes a "public health . . . order[]" within the meaning of § 50-1-103(2), MCA, and is enforceable by the Attorney General, DPHHS, a county attorney, or other local authorities under the direction of a county attorney.

III. Local Public Health Agencies to Assist in Administration of this Public Health Order
• Local public health agencies are directed to assist in the administration of this Directive, consistent with § 50-1-202(2)(a), MCA.

IV. Less-Restrictive Local Ordinances Preempted
• This Directive is in effect statewide in Montana. In the interest of uniformity of laws and to prevent the spread of disease, all inconsistent emergency county health ordinances are preempted by this Directive, but only to the extent they are less restrictive. Counties may adopt more restrictive ordinances.

Authorities: Section 10-3-104, MCA; §§ 50-1-103, -202, -203, and -204, MCA; Executive Orders 2-
2020 and 3-2020; Montana Constitution, Art. VI, Sections 4 and 13; §§ 10-3-103, -302, and -305, MCA; and all other applicable provisions of state and federal law.

Limitations
• This Directive is effective at 12:01 a.m. on March 28, 2020 through April 10, 2020.
• This Directive shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
• If any provision of this Directive or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, this invalidity does not affect any other provision or application of this Directive, which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application. To achieve this purpose, the provisions of this Directive are declared to be severable.
• This Directive is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the State of Montana, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.


Drive-through coronavirus testing in Libby (posted 3/26/2020)
Lincoln County Department of Public Health recently started an appointment-based drive-through coronavirus testing facility in Libby. The facility was set up to streamline the testing process and conserve their limited medical supplies. People must have a health care provider’s referral for a test.

Click on this link to read the full details: Lincoln Co. starts drive-through coronavirus testing in Libby By Marian Davidson, nbcmontana.com, March 25, 2020


Lincoln County resources for COVID-19 information (posted 3/26/2020)
Below are links to helpful information about the COVID-19 situation in Lincoln County, Montana. Note that the status of things is changing daily and organizations are doing their best to try to keep information current in a quickly evolving situation.

Lincoln County COVID Information Hotline: 1-406-293-6295
Lincoln County Public Health Facebook page
www.lincolnmthealth.com Lincoln County Public Health (Montana)
Lincoln County Emergency Management - Facebook page
Lincoln County, Montana COVID-19 information
KLCB-KTNY Radio, Libby - Facebook page
www.thewesternnews.com The Western News, local newspaper for Libby, Montana
Libby Area Chamber of Commerce - Facebook page
Montana COVID-19 Montana Department of Health and Human Services
Map of current COVID-19 cases in Montana
CDC COVID-19 Information Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


Montana COVID-19 map - As of March 25, 2020. Graphic source: Montana Department of Health and Human Services
Montana COVID-19 map - As of March 25, 2020. Graphic source: Montana Department of Health and Human Services
Lincoln County has first positive COVID-19 case (posted 3/26/2020)
LibbyMT.com
Lincoln County, in northwest Montana, has received its first positive case of COVID-19, according to a media release from the Lincoln County COVID-19 Task Force. They did not say which area or town the person was from, but indicated the person was is in their 70s and had recently engaged in domestic out-of-state travel. This brings the total number of positive COVID-19 cases in Montana to 71. The most incidents as of March 25th are in Gallatin County, with 24. Yellowstone County has 13 cases. There has only been 1 hospitalization and there have been 0 deaths.

Montana cases as of March 25, 2020:
Gallatin County – 24
Yellowstone County – 13
Missoula County – 6
Cascade County – 5
Flathead County – 5
Silver Bow County – 4
Lewis & Clark County – 4
Madison County – 2
Broadwater County – 2
Jefferson County - 1
Ravalli County - 1
Roosevelt County – 1
Hill County – 1
Glacier County - 1
Lincoln County - 1

Here is the media release from the Lincoln County COVID-19 Task Force:
On Wednesday, March 25, 2020 Lincoln County Health Department received notice that Lincoln County has a positive test for novel coronavirus. The individual is in their 70s and had engaged in domestic out-of-state travel.

The Lincoln County Task Force is pleased with the response of the community's medical and emergency service teams. "At this time, all indications are that our EMS and hospital personnel were well prepared for this event," stated Dr. Brad Black, MD, County Health Officer. "We feel confident that our medical personnel used appropriate personal protective equipment and were able to minimize potential exposure."

The health department is investigating and will be providing additional information as it is available.

For questions about COVID-19, please call the Lincoln County COVID-19 Information Line at (406) 293-6294. Hours of operation are 8am - 8pm 7 days a week.

Related Links:
1st positive case of COVID-19 in Lincoln County, Montana Press release, March 25, 2020
Lincoln County, Montana COVID-19 information
Montana COVID-19 Montana Department of Health and Human Services
Map of current COVID-19 cases in Montana
CDC COVID-19 Information Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


Schools and Business closure extended through April 10 (posted 3/25/2020)
Montana Governor Steve Bullock
Today (Tuesday, March 24, 2020) I issued a directive to extend closures of public schools and dine-in food service and alcoholic beverage businesses through April 10th. I also mandated social distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Montana and took actions to give our front-line healthcare workers the resources and support they need to do their incredibly difficult jobs.

Yesterday, we saw a 25% increase of our COVID-positive population. And, while I wish it were otherwise, I certainly expect those numbers to increase, as some community spread occurs and as further testing is done.

That is reason for real concern. It is the actions we are taking today – and actions businesses, individuals and each of us take today and in the immediate future that will lessen the spread in Montana.

For the most up to date information regarding COVID-19 in Montana, please visit: https://covid19.mt.gov/

SCHOOLS: School closures have been extended through April 10th. School districts were instructed last week to create plans, in the event of future closures, for providing (1) education through remote learning, where possible, (2) school meal services, where possible, (3) services for students with disabilities, and (4) other services customarily provided to children in school. Please reach out to your school district superintendent for any questions you have about your district and its plans.

School district contact information, as well as online learning resources, are available through the COVID19 website maintained by the Office of Public Instruction: http://opi.mt.gov/COVID-19-Information

SOCIAL DISTANCING: Effective immediately, non-essential social and recreational gatherings of individuals outside of a home or place of residence greater than ten people are prohibited, if a distance of at least six feet between individuals cannot be maintained. This measure is consistent with actions taken in other states to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Retail businesses are also required to establish, implement, and enforce social distancing policies to ensure a minimum of six feet between customers, effective March 28, 2020. This requirement does not apply to grocery, health care, medical, or pharmacy services, although they are encouraged to comply with social distancing protocols and worker safety measures if possible.

LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: I also announced measures to give local governments the flexibility they need to adhere to social distancing guidelines and do their part in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

My Directive suspends certain office hours requirements in state law to allow for limited closures where local governments cannot safely operate within social distancing guidelines. The Directive does not allow suspension of hours for offices that are required to maintain public health and safety.

I’m pleased that local governments know they can play a key role in slowing the virus and are taking social distancing measures seriously. Today’s action will keep the public and local government employees safe while maintaining the local services Montanans rely on.

HOSPITALS AND HEALTHCARE WORKERS: Montana is also preparing for a potential surge of patients needing hospital care. On Monday, I announced a Directive that temporarily waives the bidding process to quickly procure or distribute emergency supplies or contract for additional space to care for patients. Additionally, the directive streamlines the process for releasing patients and discharging them back to their home communities without delay as they recover, which will free up beds and equipment for new patients.

As Montanans, we have an obligation to slow the spread of this virus. Our fellow Montanans can all continue to set a good example for each other in adhering to social distancing directives – and know that it will save lives. For every person who stays at home and avoids non-essential gatherings, the better our chances to fight this virus and protect our front line health care workers and emergency responders.

Thank you all again for the comments you have sent my office and sharing this information with others in your community. We must take COVID-19 seriously, and we must prepare for the curve to go up. But with continued focus on the working together as Montanans, our state can get out in front of this and save lives.

Sincerely,

STEVE BULLOCK
Governor


Montana Emergency Unemployment Rules (posted 3/25/2020)
Governor Steve Bullock announced emergency rules to make unemployment benefits accessible to workers laid off due to COVID-19.

The new rules allow employees who have been directed to leave or not report to work due to the COVID-19 outbreak to qualify as being temporarily laid off by the employer, which makes them eligible for benefits.

Workers who must quarantine or who cannot work because they need to take care of a family member are also considered temporarily laid off and eligible for benefits. The typical one week waiting period before receiving benefits has also been waived in these new rules.

Montana employers will also receive help, as individual claims will not be chargeable to a specific employer’s account. The rules may also extend the time employers have to file wage reports and pay unemployment insurance contributions if the delay is related to COVID-19.

If you think you are eligible for these benefits, or would like more assistance, visit MontanaWorks.gov, or contact Job Service Libby for local assistance (406) 293-6282.


Illegal Walleyes in Upper Thompson Lake likely came from Noxon Reservoir (posted 3/25/2020)
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
An analysis of two walleyes found last year in Upper Thompson Lake confirmed the non-native fish were illegally introduced on separate occasions from the Lower Clark Fork reservoir system.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologists received the results of an otolith microchemistry analysis of the walleyes that revealed both fish were first-generation illegal introductions and were not born in Upper Thompson Lake, a popular fishery that is part of the Thompson Chain of Lakes west of Marion along U.S. Highway 2.

The analysis indicates both fish likely originated from Noxon Reservoir near Trout Creek and were illegally introduced on two separate occasions during the summers of 2015 and 2018.

"This is concerning because it was not a one-time attempt to illegally introduce walleye in this lake. This is an ongoing problem and threat to a prized fishery," Brian Stephens, FWP fisheries biologist, said.

Any walleye caught on Upper, Middle, and Lower Thompson lakes must be killed immediately, kept and the entire fish turned into FWP. Anglers must report the catch within 24 hours to (406) 752-5501.

Anyone with possible information on the walleyes in Upper Thompson Lake are encouraged to call 1-800-TIP MONT. Callers do not need to identify themselves and may be eligible for a cash reward.

FWP biologists discovered the two walleyes in October 2019 during a routine fisheries survey. It was the first documented detection of the predacious non-native fish in Lincoln County. Both fish were female and measured 18 and 21 inches, respectively.

Moving live fish from one body of water to another is a crime. There are important reasons for this law:

- Introduced fish may compete with native or already established species.
- Introduced fish may behave differently in a new habitat -- they may not improve and are likely to harm the fishery.
- Introduced fish may hybridize (interbreed) with established species.
- Introduced fish may carry and spread new diseases and parasites.
- Introduced fish may alter the existing habitat.

Illegal introductions can raise management costs by requiring planting more or larger fish or even chemical rehabilitation to maintain or restore the fishery. The result is less fishing opportunity and higher costs for anglers.

For more information, visit fwp.mt.gov.


Kootenai National Forest services during COVID-19 pandemic (posted 3/19/2020)
Front offices closed, services still available by phone
LIBBY, MONTANA – The Kootenai National Forest has closed their front offices, effective, March 17, 2020, until further notice, as a measure to protect their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is consistent with measures taken at all National Forest offices across the nation during this time. Anyone who would like to make an appointment with an employee or need assistance with visitor information or would like to purchase a map or wood permit over the phone and have it mailed, can contact the local Forest Service offices.

Click on this link to read the full Kootenai National Forest media release: Kootenai National Forest Continuation of Services During COVID-19 Pandemic March 17, 2020


2020 STOKR has been cancelled over concerns with the COVID-19 virus.
2020 STOKR has been cancelled over concerns with the COVID-19 virus.
2020 STOKR cancelled (posted 3/18/2020)
Annual Scenic Tour of the Kootenai River bike ride and fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity
The STOKR organizers have met with the Habitat board and made the painful decision to cancel the 2020 STOKR due to concerns with the COVID-19 virus. The 26th annual STOKR was scheduled to take place May 9-10 in Libby. All 446 riders have been contacted and given the option to have their checks mailed back, torn up, or the money put towards next year. Anyone with questions or concerns can contact Greg or Susie Rice, stokrmama@gmail.com.


MT FWP implements new social distancing policies (posted 3/17/2020)
Purchase hunting and fishing licenses online; protocols in place at FWP offices
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
In accordance with guidelines for social distancing related to COVID-19 and to protect the public as well as staff, Fish, Wildlife & Park strongly encourages hunters and anglers to make licensing purchases online at fwp.mt.gov.

For those who need assistance with their purchase, please call the FWP licensing center at 406-444-2950 or your regional or area office:
Region 1 (Kalispell): 406-752-5501
Region 2 (Missoula): 406-542-5500
Region 3 (Bozeman): 406-577-7900
Helena Area Office: 406-495-3260
Butte Area Office: 406-494-1953
Region 4 (Great Falls): 406-454-5840
Lewistown Area Office: 406-538-4658
Region 5 (Billings): 406-247-2940
Region 6 (Glasgow): 406-228-3700
Havre Area Office: 406-265-6177
Region 7 (Miles City): 406-234-0900
FWP Headquarters (Helena): 406-444-2535

FWP regional and headquarters offices remain open, but visitors will be required to follow protocol to reduce the risk of exposure to and spread of COVID-19. These protocols include:
- Entry to the lobby is limited and monitored by an FWP staff member.
- Visitors must wait outside until notified by FWP staff to enter.
- No cash will be accepted, only checks and credit or debit cards.

The April 1 deadline for deer and elk, the May 1 deadline for moose, sheep, goat and bison, and the June 1 deadline for Elk B, Deer B, and antelope will remain in effect. These deadlines are set in statute.

Please check with your local FWP office for hours of operation.

To purchase licenses online, go to fwp.mt.gov and click on "License: Buy/Apply." For more information on FWP’s response to COVID-19, go to http://fwp.mt.gov/covid19.


Library closure
Lincoln County Library closure (posted 3/16/2020)
Closed until April 1 in response to COVID-19 concerns
Lincoln County Library
PUBLIC NOTICE: Effective at 5PM today, Monday, March 16, the Lincoln County Library System will close all library locations to the public. These closures will remain in effect until at least April 1, or further notice, to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

This decision was made out of the utmost concern for the health, safety and well-being of library patrons, staff and the community. The scientific evidence that social distancing can help stop the spread of COVID-19 is a compelling factor in taking this precautionary step.

Public libraries have always been about community and the safety of our communities is paramount. We value your understanding of our decision during this challenging time.

During the closure, patrons are encouraged to use LCL’s online resources and services. Residents in LCL’s service area have access to FREE ebooks and audiobooks using their library cards through online services such as the overdrive and libby apps.

As the situation continues to evolve, LCL will follow mandates from Montana state Governor Steve Bolluck and Lincoln County Public Health in order to assess when it is safe to reopen our libraries.

All current checkouts will have their due date moved until April 7th and all available holds will remain on the shelf until we reopen.

Related Links:
http://www.lincolncountylibraries.com/


FWP temporarily suspends hunter, bowhunter ed classes (posted 3/16/2020)
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Due to health concerns for students and volunteers, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is postponing all hunter and bowhunter education classes that are scheduled through March 30, at which point FWP will reassess the situation.

COVID-19 cases have been identified in a handful of communities around the state. Because of the potential spread of COVID-19, several schools and other public buildings where hunter education classes are held have been closed to after-hours use.

Over the course of the next two weeks FWP staff in coordination with state officials will assess the risk of the potential spread of COVID-19. Once it is deemed safe, FWP will schedule new classes.

FWP staff recognizes this may impact students and their ability to apply for special permits and licenses. FWP is looking into options. This measure is intended to prioritize the safety and health of FWP’s volunteer hunter education instructors and students.

For the latest information on COVID-19, please visit the Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force website at COVID19.mt.gov or the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services website at www.dphhs.mt.gov.

For more information about hunter and bowhunter education classes and schedules, please contact your regional FWP office.


MT Gov. closes K-12 schools due to COVID-19 concerns (posted 3/15/2020)
Announces other measures aimed to slow the rate of spread of the virus
3/15/2020: Montana Governor Steve Bullock has declared a state of emergency in Montana due to the global outbreak of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. He announced new directives and guidance aimed to slow the spread of the virus. These include closing of public K-12 schools, social distancing measures, and limiting visitation at nursing home facilities.

Governor Bullock directed Montana’s public K-12 schools to close starting Monday, March 16 through March 27. During this time, schools will engage in planning to provide arrangements to provide free meals to students who need them, pursuant to a waiver obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture. Schools will continue to receive all state funding during this two-week closure. The state will work with schools during this period to evaluate and consider next steps as needed. The goal of all the measures is to slow the rate of spread of the virus in local community. To date, Montana has

To mitigate the impact of school closures on families, Governor Bullock encourages all employers to be generous with their employee sick and paid leave policies during this time.

Governor Bullock is strongly recommending that the public limits all gatherings, especially those more than 50 people, in every community across the state.

He is also recommending that individuals over the age of 60, or who have compromised health conditions, do not participate in gatherings of more than 20 people. He also recommends that parents should avoid placing children with grandparents or individuals over the age of 60 for child care.

Visitation in Montana’s nursing homes is suspended except for certain compassionate care situations. People who meet the exception for visitation will undergo a screening to determine whether they have traveled in the last two weeks, are residing where community spread is occurring, or if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

Below is his entire media release:

TO: The People of the State of Montana; all officers and agencies of the State of Montana
FROM: Governor Steve Bullock DATE: March 15, 2020 RE: Directive implementing Executive Orders 2-2020 and 3-2020 and providing for measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus


Executive Orders 2-2020 and 3-2020 declare that a state of emergency exists in Montana due to the global outbreak of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus.

In accordance with the authority vested in me under the Constitution, Article VI, Sections 4 and 13, and the laws of the State of Montana, Title 10, Chapter 3 and Title 50, Chapter 1, MCA, and other applicable provisions of the Constitution and Montana Law, I hereby direct the following measures be in place in the State of Montana effective immediately:

1. School Closure
• All non-residential public schools in Montana are closed through March 27, 2020.
• All eligible schools will continue to receive all state payments under the school funding formula, including per person ANB funding, as budgeted and appropriated by the Montana legislature.
• During this time, schools will engage in planning to provide:
- arrangements to provide free meals to students who need them, pursuant to a waiver obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture.
- all other matters and services that students need in the event of future or ongoing closure.
- The state will work with schools during this period and evaluate and announce next steps.

Authorities: Section 10-3-104, MCA; §§ 50-1-202, -203. -204, MCA; 37 A.G. Op. 132 (1978); Executive Orders 2-2020 and 3-2020; Montana Constitution, Art. VI, Sections 4 and 13; §§ 10-3103, -302, and -305, MCA; and all other applicable provisions of state and federal law.

2. Nursing Homes
• Visitation is suspended for all visitors and non-essential healthcare providers, except as for certain compassionate care situations (e.g., end of life).
• The State of Montana adopts the guidance and procedures provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the March 13, 2020, memorandum entitled "Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in
Nursing Homes (REVISED)" accessible at https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-20-14nh-revised.pdf and provided with this Directive. This specifically includes the "Additional Guidance" procedures provided on pages 3-4 (e.g., cancellation of group activities and active screening of staff and residents).
• For essential visitation (e.g., end of life) the following screening must occur:
- Signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat.
- In the last 14 days, contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, under investigation for COVID-19, or ill with respiratory illness.
- International travel within the last 14 days to countries with sustained community transmission.
- Domestic travel in the last 14 days to areas with sustained community transmission.
- Residing in a community where community-based spread of COVID-19 is occurring.
Authorities: Section 10-3-104, MCA; Executive Orders 2-2020 and 3-2020; Montana Constitution, Art. VI, Sections 4 and 13; §§ 10-3-103, -302, and -305, MCA; §§ 50-1-202, -203. -204, MCA; and all other applicable provisions of state and federal law.

3. Public Guidance Regarding Social Distancing The Governor, in consultation with public health authorities, strongly recommends the following guidance:
• Limiting all gatherings, especially those gatherings of more than 50 people.
- Organizers should refrain from planning new gatherings and cancel existing gatherings. - Individuals should refrain from attending.
• Persons age 60 or older should not participate in any gatherings, especially those gatherings of more than 20 people.
• Persons who are immunocompromised or with chronic health conditions should not participate in any gatherings, especially those over 20 people.
• Parents should avoid, if possible, placing children for childcare with grandparents, family members, friends, or providers over the age of 60 or immunocompromised persons.

4. Transportation
• The limited waivers on motor carriers provided in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 are adopted and in effect in Montana and run concurrent to the federal declaration and its limitations, which increases the legal weight limits by 10 percent for commercial vehicles to provide supplies to help support response to the emergency.
• The FMCSA declaration is accessible here

Authorities: Section 10-3-104, MCA; § 61-10-111, MCA; Executive Orders 2-2020 and 3-2020; Montana Constitution, Art. VI, Section 4; and all other applicable provisions of state and federal law.

5. National Guard Resources
• As provided in the March 14, 2020, Directive implementing Executive Orders 2-2020 and 32020, the resources and operational capabilities of the Montana National Guard are available to respond as necessary and at the Governor’s direction. The Adjutant General is authorized to place members of the Montana National Guard on State Active Duty status.

Authorities: Sections 10-3-104 and -305, MCA; Executive Orders 2-2020 and 3-2020; Montana Constitution, Art. VI, Sections 4 and 13; §§ 10-3-103 and -302, MCA; and all other applicable provisions of state and federal law.

5. Limitations
• This Directive is effective immediately and expires at the end of the declared state of emergency in Executive Orders 2-2020 and 3-2020.
• This Directive shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
• This Directive is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the state of Montana, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Source


FVCC cancels classes and events March 16-29 (posted 3/15/2020)
For Kalispell and Lincoln County campuses
Flathead Valley Community College media release
In response to the latest developments in the COVID-19 outbreak, Flathead Valley Community College is canceling all classes and events from March 16-29 on the Kalispell and Lincoln County campuses.

The Early Childhood Center will be closed, and all Continuing Education classes are canceled during this time.

FVCC campus offices will remain open.

FVCC campuses will resume classes on March 30 using remote delivery. More information will be made available to students in the coming days.


Libby lies in the northwest corner of Montana and is nestled in a valley carved by the Kootenai River on the flank of the majestic Cabinet Mountain Range and Wilderness Area. Today about 2,800 people live within Libby proper. The main industries are lumber and wood products, mining, tourism and recreation. The movies "The River Wild" and "Always" were filmed here. Contact the Libby Chamber of Commerce for brochures, info on lodging and events, general area information, and contact information for local businesses and services.

SUMMER
When the weather warms and the mountain snows melt away, the Kootenai National Forest comes alive with over 2.2 million acres of public land as a playground. Mountain trails and lakes open up, beautiful wildflowers come in bloom, and wildlife have their young. Libby is the basecamp for the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area, 90-mile long Lake Koocanusa, the Northwest Peaks Scenic Area, and the Ten Lakes Scenic Area. There is good access to most of the Forest and plenty of room to get away from it all!

WINTER
Winter in Montana means snow, and lots of it! For those who love to play in the deep powder, the Libby area offers tremendous winter fun. Turner Mountain Ski Area, located just 22 miles from Libby, offers challenging downhill skiing with a beautiful view. Their slogan is "steep, deep and cheap", and Turner definitely lives up to that. It's still fairly undiscovered, so you can escape the crowds and get the cheapest lift tickets around. For those who love snowmobiling, there are hundreds of miles of backcountry roads to sled on in the Kootenai National Forest. Cross-country skiers and ice fishermen also can find solitude on a lake and miles of quiet forest trails to enjoy the outdoors. Those who are a bit on the wild and crazy side will love the antics of the Libby Polar Bear Club. Members take winter-time "swims" in frigid Libby Creek every Sunday from October to April. Plungers have ranged in age from 3 to 61. As long as the ice can be broken on the creek, if it has formed, the group will take their plunge, no matter the temperature.

Libby Polar Bear Club
These people must be craaaazzzzzy!
Libby Polar Bear Club

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For more visitor information, please contact the
Libby Chamber of Commerce
www.libbychamber.org

406-293-4167
E-mail: libbyacc@libbychamber.org

Libby Chamber of Commerce is located right on Hwy 2 next to Rosauers.
Libby Montana Chamber of Commerce

We Love Libby!

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LibbyMT.com, PO Box 940, Libby, MT 59923, 406-293-3608, e-mail: info@libbymt.com
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LibbyMT.com is designed and maintained by Wind River Web Services LLC. Photos by LibbyMT.com unless otherwise credited. Staff Photographer/Reporter is Maggie Craig.
Webmaster for this site is Dawn Ballou. LibbyMT.com is a web site designed to provide visitor information about the Libby, Montana and the Lincoln County, northwest Montana area. Our staff is small, but we try to cover as many local events as we can. We welcome photo and story contributions. We work with local community entities to provide the information on this web site. We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the content of this site, however errors may occur. Please contact us for more information or if you find any broken links on our site. We are members of the Libby Chamber of Commerce. We welcome your comments and suggestions about the content on this web site. Content and photos are copyright 2020, all rights reserved, and may not be reprinted, reproduced, or reused in printed form or electronic media (ie. other web sites or photos on CDs) without first obtaining permission. If you wish to use photos or reprint articles from our site, please contact us by e-mail or phone. Higher resolution versions of photos are available. Usually there is no charge for non-commercial and not-for-profit organization uses. Thank you for visiting Libby Montana on the Web!

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