Montana Governor Orders Residents to Stay at Home as State Announces First COVID-19 Death

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
March 27, 2020Updated: March 27, 2020

The governor of Montana ordered residents to stay at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic as the state reported its first death from the new illness.

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

Gov. Steve Bullock’s directive (pdf) requires Montana residents to stay at home with exceptions for essential trips getting necessary supplies like groceries, engaging in outdoor activity like hiking, and caring for others, such as a family member.

“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,” Bullock said in a statement.

“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.”

All gatherings that are non-essential outside a home or place of residence are prohibited, regardless of size, if individuals can’t follow the social distancing measure of staying at least six feet away from other people. Businesses that remain open also must follow that social distancing guideline.

The directive, which goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 28 and goes through April 10, also mandates the closure of all businesses deemed nonessential. Essential businesses include stores selling groceries and medicine, businesses involved in the production of food and beverages, and media outlets.

Epoch Times Photo
Transmission electron micrograph of the CCP virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2, isolated from a patient. Photo published March 10, 2020. (NIAID)

The closure of schools was also extended through April 10.

The new rules are “enforceable by the Attorney General, DPHHS, a county attorney, or other local authorities under the direction of a county attorney,” according to the directive.

Shortly after the directive was issued, Bullock confirmed the first death from COVID-19 in the state.

“I’m heartbroken to learn of Montana’s first death due to COVID-19. Especially during these times, Montana truly is one big small town—this news hits us hard, but we’re in this together. My family and I send our love and support to the family, friends, and community of our fellow Montanan,” Bullock said in a statement.

No identifying information about the person was released.

Montana has 90 confirmed cases of the virus, with seven of those hospitalized.

Bullock, a former Democratic presidential contender, is running for a U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.).