There seems to be some dissension over whether or not Glacier County should be following Governor Bullock’s phased approach to reopening local businesses or the Blackfeet Tribe’s Ordinance 121. The Glacier County Health Board held a special meeting on Thursday, April 30, and made a recommendation to the Glacier County Commissioners for reopening Glacier County. See related story.

During the County Commissioner meeting on Tuesday, April 28, what was thought to be an agenda item dealing with reopening the Glacier County Courthouse and other county buildings turned out to be a suggestion to continue a countywide “stay at home” order until May 31.

Chairman Michael DesRosier, who attended the meeting by phone, said he would like to see Glacier County follow the lead and guidelines of the Blackfeet Tribe. He stated, “We need to be unified in Glacier County” and continue to work with the Blackfeet Tribe’s Incident Command.

To watch the April 28 meeting go to: https://transcripts.gotomeeting.com/?utm_source=recordingReadyNotification&utm_medium=email#/s/b3e572d0e1f64a819b124ef298c98ee80f0668f6ccccafe62cc1a9ff242c37ee

The Blackfeet Tribal Council last week extended Ordinance 121 (also known as the COVID-19 ordinance), which continues the implementation and enforcement of the following safety orders:

•Curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

•Social Distancing

•Encourages the wearing of face masks while out in public

•Stay-at-Home order

•Business closure order

•Sale of alcohol noon to 8 p.m. 

•Vacation rental closures

•Closure of entrances to Glacier National Park located within the Blackfeet Reservation

•Closure of roads within the Blackfeet Reservation to non-essential travel

•Quarantine for 14 days if you have traveled to an area infected with COVID-19

During Tuesday’s meeting, Carol McDivitt, BSN, RN, and lead health official of the Glacier County Health Department, explained in detail Gov. Bullock’s phased approach to reopening. She noted that many businesses have already contacted the County Health Department on how to safely reopen and follow the “very strict” guidelines of the plan.

McDivitt said she and Dr. Hank Clay, the Glacier County Health Officer, believe the County should follow the Governor’s plan as it has been presented. (The link to view the plan is at the bottom of this article.)

“I feel it is a very wise, very strict plan,” said McDivitt. “I think we need to get people back to work.”

McDivitt pointed out some businesses may choose not to reopen if they do not feel they can follow the strict guidelines of the phased opening planning. The Governor’s plan has three phases and Phase One “could be a long phase,” said McDivitt.

Board member and Cut Bank Police Chief Michael Schultz believes the “Governor’s Plan is fantastic” and is a way to ease in to reopening after the “shelter in place” order of the last six weeks.

Commissioner DesRosier said he was “worried about people coming from one zone entering into another zone.” 

Schultz responded Cut Bank has seen that already with the increase in traffic coming from the Blackfeet Reservation since the Tribal order limiting the hours for alcohol sales.

Glacier County Sheriff Vernon “Napi” Billedeaux stated, “Businesses need to be cautious…It’s pretty risky out there.” He added, “Let’s think of some protocols.”

The Glacier County Health Board will hold a special meeting on Thursday, April 30, to discuss and approve “Glacier County’s Phased Reopening.” They will then make a recommendation to the County Commissioners following the meeting.

In addition to Glacier County Commissioner John Overcast, voting members of the County Health Board include Becky Atkinson, Northern Rockies Medical Center; Jeff Severn, Indian Health Service; Mike Schultz, City of Cut Bank; and Nancy Hjartarson, RN, Glacier County resident. All members of the Health Board are appointed by the County Commissioners. 

The meeting will be held via “gotomeeting” and is open to the public. To “attend” the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone, click on the following link:

https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/438028613 

To call in by phone, dial +1 (872) 240-3412 and then use the access code  438-028-613.

To read the Governor’s Directive on Phased Reopening of Montana and Plan to Reopening the Big Sky, see:

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=7c34f3412536439491adcc2103421d4b

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