MISSOULA, Mont. — Since Gov. Steve Bullock issued a shelter-in-place directive Thursday afternoon, a lot of you have written asking exactly what this order means, where can we go and what the essential businesses are.
We’re here to break down the confusion for you.
Essential basically means things that keep us safe and healthy and services that keep our state afloat. That includes chemical, communications, commercial facilities, critical manufacturing, dams, defense industrial base, emergency services, energy, financial and real estate services, food and agriculture, government facilities, health care, information technology, nuclear reactors, transportation and water.
Included under those umbrellas -- first responders and child care centers.
If you work at a grocery or convenience store, pharmacy or other retail store that sells food, pet food and beverages, you're essential. That includes liquor store employees. So are farm workers and truck drivers.
Restaurants are on the open list, but only for takeout or delivery.
So are laundromats, hardware stores, hotels and funeral homes.
You can still go to the doctor, dentist and vet. And you can still send packages and mail.
Construction projects will continue.
You can also get outdoors for recreation like a walk, hike or bike ride. The exception here is anything considered extreme or activities that could stress our emergency resources, like backcountry skiing in avalanche terrain. And don't go in groups!
There's a pretty big asterisk attached to this entire list of "can dos." You have to comply with social distancing guidelines, meaning maintaining 6 feet of distance. Essential businesses have to provide hand sanitizing products and designate special hours only for vulnerable populations.
You can click here for a full list of these essential businesses. If you have any questions, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll look into it for you.