The Montana Department of Labor has provided employers and employees with answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about unemployment coverage and benefits. Their FAQ document is updated regularly to reflect the questions they are receiving from employers and employees regarding COVID-19.
MontanaWorks.gov – File for Unemployment
MontanaWorks.gov is the Montana Department of Labor and Industry’s portal to support businesses and job seekers. It serves as a one-stop for applying for unemployment benefits. People who think they are eligible for these benefits can apply for benefits online at: montanaworks.gov or contact the Unemployment Insurance Division over the phone at (406) 444-2545.
Additional resources are available locally in Gallatin County. The best way to reach individual services is to contact the Montana Help Center or by calling 2-1-1.
The American Rescue Plan Act established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) to provide funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open. This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.
The Montana Department of Commerce has several new programs offering assistance in the form of grants and loan deferment for tourism based businesses and live entertainment businesses. New program info is updated regularly and can be found here.
Business Stabilization Grants
On Nov. 17, 2020, the State of Montana announced an additional $75 million for a new round of Business Stabilization Grants for Montana businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Eligible businesses – those that previously received grants in prior funding rounds – will receive an email in the next week inviting them to accept a third round of funding.
There is no application process; eligible businesses will just need to accept the offer through the email they will receive. New applications are not being accepted at this time.
Eligible businesses must also agree to comply with all state and local COVID-19 orders, including requiring masks, social distancing, capacity, and closing time restrictions.
U.S. Small Business Administration
The Small Business Administration offers several temporary programs to assist businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak. Learn more with an overview of SBA programs or read more below on each of the programs below:
Nonprofit organizations have had to make tough decisions about their work, their staff, and their programming. Many have seen an increased demand for your services and adapted to meet unplanned needs during this COVID-19 crisis. The One Valley Community Foundation was launched to help nonprofit organizations meet these unplanned needs.
What is the Southwestern Montana COVID-19 Response Fund?
The Fund is a joint effort between the Greater Gallatin United Way (GGUW) and the One Valley Community Foundation to streamline support to the areas of our region that need it most at this time. The Response Fund will provide flexible resources to organizations working with individuals and populations disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus and the health and economic consequences of this outbreak. We are not providing funding to individuals. This fund serves Gallatin, Park, Madison, and Meagher counties.
What will this fund support?
Initial funding will focus on five primary areas of need:
Food and supplies distribution
Emergency financial assistance
Health and wellbeing
Programs and supplies needed to support crisis response
As the situation evolves and additional needs arise, the Response Fund’s priorities and scope may shift or expand to best serve the region throughout the crisis and recovery.
How will these funds be distributed to organizations?
GGUW and BACF are actively working with community leaders, local government, public health, and emergency management officials to monitor and respond to the immediate and evolving needs of the region resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the changing nature of this unprecedented situation, we are convening regional social service providers in order to identify shifts in community needs and address any gaps in crucial services. A Donation Steering Group made up of government leadership, members of the philanthropy and nonprofit community and board members of GGUW and BACF are meeting weekly, reviewing funding questionnaires and determining the release of the funds to qualifying organizations.
I want to request funding for my organization. What is the process?
Please visit the Response Fund page and submit a short questionnaire about the funding you would like to receive for your organization. Once received, the Donations Steering Group will review your submission. You will receive a response within 10 business days about the status of your request.
The CDC’s interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. (CDC has provided separate guidance for healthcare settings) This guidance also provides planning considerations for community spread of COVID-19. CDC will update this interim guidance as additional information becomes available.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule controls how a health plan or a covered health care provider shares protected health information with an employer. The HIPAA Privacy Rule does not protect employment records, even if the information in those records is health-related. In most cases, the Privacy Rule does not apply to the actions of an employer. Employers can ask for a doctor’s note or other health information if they need the information for sick leave, workers’ compensation, wellness programs, or health insurance. However, if employers asks a health care provider directly for information about an employee, the provider cannot give the employer the information without the employee’s authorization unless other laws require them to do so. Generally, the HIPAA Privacy Rule applies to the disclosures made by health care providers, not the questions employers may ask.
We encourage people to contact a member of their Montana Congressional Delegation to voice support for legislation to protect employees and employers during the economic slowdown caused by COVID-19. In addition, people can request assistance on how to access available federal resources for business owners, or work through with a federal agency.
Business owners and individuals needing notary services during this time can contact local banks to determine what kind of notary services are currently being offered. For a small fee (typically $10), some law firms, real estate offices, tax offices, and shipping stores (such as UPS and the Postal Annex) provide traditional, in-person notary services. Due to social distancing directives, consider contacting these locations to ask about the following remote notarization options allowed by the state of Montana.
Remote Online Notarization – R.O.N.
The signer and the notary appear to one another by means of communications technology – live, two-way, audio-visual transmission. The notary must be physically located in Montana; the signer can be anywhere in the world. R.O.N. involves:
Personal appearance via communication technology of the signer(s) and the notary
Digital signatures of the signer and the notary
Digital notary seal
Montana is one of only two states currently that allow the remote notarization of tangible documents. The notary must be physically located in Montana; the signer can be anywhere in the world. Remote notarization involves:
Personal appearance via communication technology of the signer(s) and the notary
Paper (tangible) document, which has been signed and subsequently delivered to the notary (the notary has the actual signed document)
Wet signatures of the signer and the notary
Ink impression of the notary’s seal/stamp
Acknowledgments are the only notarial act that can be performed in this manner
If you must pursue in-person, traditional notary services, be sure to stay 6 feet away from others and wear a cloth face covering when entering into public spaces and offices.