At a press conference in Helena on Thursday, Governor Steve Bullock described further efforts to help destination communities in Montana in staying safe from coronavirus as visitors descend on the state this summer.

“As an initial matter, we utilized Department of Commerce data to analyze typical visitor travel in our state over the period from June to September,” said Bullock. “We looked at the top destination counties, those counties that experience high levels of destinations per resident.”

Bullock then named the top 20 counties for visitation in the state.

“We’ve identified the top 20 counties, those having more than 2,500 visitors during this time period for that initial outreach that we’ve been conducting,” he said. “Communities range from Gallatin, Park, Yellowstone, Missoula and Flathead to counties like Dawson, Carbon, Madison and Richland.”

He laid out guidelines for businesses in tourism rich areas to keep COVID 19 from spreading this summer.

“We’re asking the businesses in destination and gateway communities that they partner with us and with local public health agencies in educating visiting guests on destination safety and how to avoid risks,” he said. “We’re also asking those businesses to take the necessary precautions in protecting their employees. Everything from implementing symptom screening, to posting signage to remind staff, vendors and customers of safety measures, to proper cleaning and disinfecting.”

Finally, Bullock had this request for those who will be visiting Montana this summer.

“If you’re going to come to our state keep state and local restrictions as well as the guidelines set up by local businesses,” he said, “Engage in the same precautions that we do, and exercise patience as tourism communities slowly and gradually welcome you back.”

In addition, Bullock introduced the Montana Business Adaptation Program, which will provide reimbursement for COVID-19 expenses related to keeping staff and businesses safe, as well as the Tourism Education Program, will make available $15 million in CARES Act funding to carry out a statewide informational campaign to educate visitors prior to and after arriving in Montana.