Gallatin County Public Health Recommendations

The CDC and the Gallatin City-County Health Department are still recommending that everyone continues to reduce their exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. This includes the precautions below.

More information on Public Health Recommendations:

Getting your vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others against COVID-19. There are numerous locations across Gallatin County where you can still get your vaccine.
Please visit our page dedicated to these options.

Large gatherings bring together many people that may not normally be together if not for that event. The CDC’s large events guidance can provide alternative ideas and/or help you plan for a safe event.

If you would like to have your large gathering event reviewed by the Gallatin City-County Health Department, please call or email us: 406.582.3120 or ehs@gallatin.mt.gov

Current CDC Guidance: As of July 27 , 2021

  • Added a recommendation for fully vaccinated people to wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.
  • Added information that fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19, or if they have someone in their household who is immunocompromised, at increased risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated.
  • Added a recommendation for fully vaccinated people who have a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to be tested 3-5 days after exposure, and to wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
  • CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.

Businesses and organizations still have the authority and right to make decisions on requiring masks.

CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings, at events and gatherings, and anywhere they will be around other people. Effective February 2, 2021, masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
Your guide to face masks. 
The CDC also recommends washing your face mask regularly! 

Hand washing is a given to prevent the spread of any disease. Make sure you wash your ands before eating or preparing food and before touching your face. Additionally, be sure to wash your hands after using the restroom, coughing or sneezing, leaving a public space, handling your mask, changing a diaper, or caring for someone who is sick.
For more information on hand hygiene, visit the CDC’s website. 

Limiting close, face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Visit the CDC’s website for additional guidance on social distancing. 

If you are having an emergency, including trouble breathing, call 911 or get help immediately. If you start feeling ill, stay home and check your symptoms. Additional information on quarantine and guidance if you think you might have COVID-19 can be found on the CDC’s website.

Active emergency health office orders:

QUARANTINE

  1. All persons with COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing) who have a test result for COVID-19 pending or who have been identified as a close contact of someone who is a known case for COVID-19, shall stay in a quarantine location (their home if they have one, or in a government directed or publicly provided location if one is available) in accordance with public health guidance and the conditions stated below.
  2. All persons whose test results for COVID-19 are positive, must then remain in isolation.

ISOLATION

  1. All individuals who test positive for COVID-19 shall enter and remain in isolation as follows:
    • All such persons SHALL NOT LEAVE THEIR HOME OR RECOVERY FACILITY, except to receive medical care.
    • All such persons must discontinue isolation only upon being released from isolation by Gallatin City-County Health Department staff using current guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CONDITIONS OF QUARANTINE AND ISOLATION
All individuals in quarantine or isolation must:

  1. As much as possible, keep separated from other people and animals.
  2. Stay in a separate “sick room,” if possible.
  3. Use a separate bathroom, if available.
  4. Clean all “high-touch” surfaces daily.
  5. Cover coughs and sneezes and wash hands often.
  6. Avoid sharing personal household items such as towels and kitchen utensils.
  7. If something is required that is available from an essential business, such as food, obtain the item by delivery or from others who are not in isolation and in a manner that does not require face-to-face contact with others or entry into the isolation location.
  8. If symptoms worsen, contact a health care provider as frequently as necessary to determine if the disease is progressing and additional care is needed. Except for emergencies, call a physician or health clinic first before visiting.
  9. If attending a medical appointment, avoid public transportation and wear a face mask if available.
Current Health Officer Order:

In-active emergency health rules:

These public health rules are no longer active.

Seating Accommodations for Restaurant/Bar: On April 5, 2021, the Gallatin City-County Board of Health voted to extend the current public health rule governing capacity and operations for certain businesses. They also amended this rule to allow 8 people per table at establishments such as restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and bowling alleys, and allowing a distance of 3 feet between groups at a bar. This rule is in effect until May 10, 2021.

Business Hours: On February 4, 2021 the Gallatin City-County Board of Health voted to extend the current public health rule governing capacity and operations for certain businesses, they also amended this rule to allow for these businesses to stay open until 2:00 a.m.

Groups and Gatherings Capacity: On March 12, 2021 the Gallatin City-County Board of Health voted to amend and extend the current public health rule governing events and gatherings size limits. The following size limits have been increase, effective immediately:

  • Indoor events and group gatherings
    • Limited to no more than 150 people. The number of people at an event includes attendees, staff, volunteers, and others on site at any one time.
    • For indoor events with 50-150 people the following measures must be taken
      • All participants must be seated at tables at least six feet apart with no more than 8 people per table. This rule does not apply to anyone 18 years or younger who are present with their parent or guardian.
      • The tables must be placed in a way that allows physical distancing.
      • Any retail-like events, such as trade shows, must ensure physical layout that maintains social distancing.
    • Shall not exceed 50% capacity of the space.
  • Outdoor events and group gatherings
    • Limited to no more than 250 people. The number of people at an event includes attendees, staff, volunteers, and others on site at any one time.
    • For outdoor events and group gatherings with 50-250 people:
      • All participants must be able to maintain strict physical distancing of at least six feet.
      • Any retail-like events, such as trade shows, must ensure physical layout that maintains social distancing.
    • For events with more than 50 people, event sponsors must at all times avoid unstructured events or activities (such as dance floors) that allow for unpredictable or unmanageable social interactions.
    • Event organizers or hosts of more than 150 people that do not meet an exclusion below must submit an operations plan that outlines protective measures and environmental controls.
      The following are excluded:

      • Houses of worship
      • K-12 schools
      • Higher education
      • Organized youth events such as after-school programs or youth athletics
      • Retail businesses
      • Government offices and operations
      • Gyms, fitness studios, and indoor recreation facilities
      • Construction sites
      • Food service establishments that serve a population that depends on the establishment as one of its sole food sources (such as a cafeteria)
      • Museums, sit-down theaters, and outdoor competition venues with established seating
    • Please be sure to read the public health rule in its entirety for more details. 

Other protective measures that remain in effect are:

  • All events and group gatherings must strictly comply with face covering requirements.
  • Maintain 6 feet social distancing between patrons – unless seated at the bar, then three feet must be maintained.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces.
  • Eliminate shared or community items.
  • Operate at 50% capacity.
  • Limit tables to 8 people or less – this limit does not apply to persons younger than 18 years of age who are present with their parent or guardian.
Links:

On April 5, 2021, the Gallatin City-County Board of Health voted to repeal the Emergency Rule for Quarantine and Isolation.

The Board decided it no longer needed this emergency rule, but that won’t change anything about the way we do contact tracing or our responsibility to get cases isolated and close contacts in quarantine when appropriate.  This emergency rule was only one tool in our contact tracing effort.  State law, administrative rule, and Board of Health policy require us to follow CDC guidance to isolate known cases of COVID-19 and place in quarantine close contacts who are at higher risk to spread the disease due to their exposures. That work will continue, and a health officer order remains in effect to assist us in this effort. The Board fully supports these continued actions in the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

The order required people who had tested positive for COVID-19 to stay at home, and for people who had been identified by the Health Department as close contacts to a known case to also stay at home.

Links:

On April 5, 2021 the Gallatin City-County Board of Health voted to repeal the emergency rule that allows for limited visitation at nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and senior and assisted living facilities in Gallatin County.

GCCHD will continue working with long term care facilities to enforce a health officer order requiring facilities to maintain staffing, personal protective equipment, and screening of visitors and staff in order to reduce transmission. 

The rule allowed for some visitation consistent with safeguards required or recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Those safeguards included requirements for surveillance testing, symptom monitoring, adequate staffing and an absence of known COVID-19 cases in the facility for at least 14 days.

Links:

On May 22, 2020, Gallatin City-County Health Officer Matt Kelley signed a Health Officer Order establishing non-congregant sheltering in West Yellowstone for the duration of the public health emergency for COVID-19 to quarantine and isolate individuals.

Links:

The Gallatin City-County Board of Health adopted an emergency rule on May 1, 2020 (and amended it on May 13, 2020) that outlines the local approach to reopening non-essential businesses in Gallatin County.

The rule aligns with Governor Bullock’s April 22 directive and his additional May 8 directive adding gyms, movie theaters, and museums. These directives provide guidance and requirements for the first phase of Montana’s phased reopening plan.

Phase 1 expired on May 31, 2020.

Links:

The face coverings rule expired on May 27, 2021.

On April 5, 2021, the Gallatin City-County Board of Health voted to extended the current Emergency Rule for the use of cloth face coverings for the prevention of COVID-19. This current rule is in effect until May 27, 2021. The board intends to meet again in early May to consider this rule again.

The order requires the use of face coverings by people within indoor public settings in Gallatin County to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Exceptions include:

  • Children under the age of 5
  • While seated eating or drinking
  • While engaging in strenuous physical exercise
  • People with medical conditions that would be worsened by face coverings
Links:

EHR and HO Archive

More Resources:

COVID-19

EXPLORE MORE:

COVID-19 printable resources
Governor Bullock's Guidelines and Considerations for Reopening Businesses and Schools