Gallatin City-County Health Officer Matt Kelley ordered the closure of all Gallatin County bars, brew bubs, wineries, casinos, and restaurants to help reduce the spread of coronavirus and slow down the current pandemic.

The order follows similar forced closures for bars and restaurants across the country, including Butte which announced their bars & restaurants would close as of 4 p.m. today. For Bozeman, the order goes into effect at 9 p.m. tonight through March 24th.

There are limited exceptions for food service establishments that are the primary meal sources for a population that depends on it as one of its sole or primary sources of food,
such a university-based dining facilities or cafeterias in hospital and care facilities.

Restaurants are allowed to provide take-out and delivery service. The restrictions do not apply to grocery stores, deli counters within grocery stores, or convenience stores.

“Our goal in taking these actions is to slow down the spread of COVID-19 in order to allow our health care system to prepare, build resources, and plan,” Kelley said. “We know these actions will create significant and lasting economic impact and disruption and we do not take them lightly. But in light of the current situation, we feel it is a necessary step.”

Kelley said a major concern informing the action is the potential for hundreds of people
gathering for St. Patrick’s Day celebration in bars and restaurants all over Gallatin County. “This situation is serious enough to warrant school closures so it seems reasonable and prudent to put off St. Patrick’s Day celebrations until after a pandemic response,” Kelley said.

The decision comes on the heels of recommendation from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to all Americans to limit gatherings of 50 or more people as part of a nationwide effort to reduce disease spread through social distancing. The restrictions announced in Gallatin County and other Montana communities follows similar measures announced recently in Illinois, California, New York, Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan and Washington.