At a press conference in Helena on Tuesday, Governor Steve Bullock extended the stay at home order for all Montanans not involved in essential businesses and services.

“Today, I will be extending the directive to stay at home for an additional two weeks through April 24th,” said Bullock. “First of all, staying at home will give our healthcare facilities more time to secure adequate hospital supplies so that when we do have our peak of cases, we’ll be fully prepared. I also encourage you to wear a cloth mask or face covering consistent with CDC guidelines.”

Bullock also provided assistance to cities and counties in Montana to be able to obtain federal aid without burdening local taxpayers.

“I’m issuing a directive waiving the current requirements that local and county governments implement a two mil emergency levy in order to access new funding from the federal CARES act,” he said. “Local and county governments won’t need to use all available emergency levies before they can access state emergency or disaster funding. It’s a simple fix that makes sense as we all work together to safeguard our economies during the COVID 19 emergency.”

In addition, Bullock issued another directive to further safeguard healthcare workers and first responders.

“Today, I’m also issuing a directive to protect our first responders by providing the clarification needed to allow all first responders to be notified before they come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID 19,” he said. “For example, if a person who is being monitored and is in isolation at home requests an ambulance due to breathing issues then an ambulance can be dispatched with an exposure warning and the first responder can be prepared with the appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).

In addition, the public school closure order was extended through April 24, as well as closing certain on-premises dining and beverage businesses while expanding and encouraging delivery, takeout, and drive-up options and extending the stay at home directive except for certain essential activities, temporarily closing non-essential businesses, provided social distancing requirements, and limited non-essential travel.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 319 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with six deaths and 57 who have recovered.

More From Newstalk KGVO 1290 AM & 98.3 FM