Governor Steve Bullock held a press conference in Helena on Tuesday and stated that starting June 1, he will initiate Phase 2 of the state’s reopening from the COVID 19 pandemic.

Bullock began with easing of restrictions on businesses in the state.

“Under Phase 2 effective June 1, restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and casinos will remain in the same operational status as Phase 1, but increasing to 75 percent capacity,” said Bullock. “Gyms, indoor fitness classes, pools and hot tubs can operate at 75 percent of capacity, but only if they can adhere to strict physical distancing and if they exercise frequent sanitation protocols.”

Bullock said June 1 would also lead to the reopening of Montana’s entrances to Yellowstone National Park.

“As I said last week, I continue to target a June 1 opening for the Montana gates at Yellowstone National Park,” he said. “I’m looking forward to continuing my coordination with Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholley, and learning more about how the limited opening is going from the park’s perspective. That limited reopening just started yesterday in Wyoming.”

Bullock had no word on when Glacier National Park might reopen to visitors.

He then chided those who choose not to wear face masks or follow other safety protocols.

“I’ve also heard anecdotally stories of Montanans not following the guidelines we laid out in Phase 1,” he said. “Montanans and businesses need to understand that these guidelines which were developed in consultation with both public health and business representatives are in place to protect people from COVID 19 and to allow us to move forward in the phases.”

Bullock had more to say to those who refuse to comply.

“Not following these guidelines is what will get us into trouble,” he warned. “Not following these guidelines could very well put us in a position where we would have to go backwards instead of being able to continue to move forward. Montana truly has been an example to the rest of the nation in our response to this global pandemic.”

The Montana National Guard will continue to conduct screenings in airports and train depots and refer anyone with COVID-19-related symptoms to local public health officials.

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