BOZEMAN - Health officials issued warning to four bars in Bozeman for violating COVID-19 health rules regarding social distancing.
The Gallatin City-County Health Department issued warning letters to the American Legion Post #14, Bar IX, the Crystal Bar, and the Pour House on June 17.
Health department staff have been conducting walk-throughs of establishments to verify whether they are in compliance with local and state health orders that require bars and restaurants to operate at 75 percent capacity, and other social distancing measures.
The letters issued to the bars outline the violations and include photos.
Below is an example of some of what was provided to the bars:
- On June 13, 2020 at approximately 10:30 p.m., I observed bar patrons standing throughout the establishment with no attempts made by the person-in-charge to maintain social distancing between patrons of separate parties at the well or tap area, or throughout the establishment. It also appeared the establishment was operating over 75% capacity of normal capacity.
Photos were included with each of the letters as well, and the bars were asked to make adjustments. The health department said all four bars, submitted compliance plans.
“The following weekend, we made a point to visit all four establishments that received warning letters the week of June 14. Each responded with a compliance plan (to varying degrees of detail) and (more importantly) each demonstrated marked improvement the following weekend when staff visited unannounced to observe progress," Health Officer Matt Kelley said in an email statement.
"In conjunction with this, we also reached out to a bar owners generally to make them aware of our concerns and plans to visit establishments," Kelley's statement continued. "We also widened our unannounced walk-through schedule by sanitarians this past weekend, including some establishments outside of Bozeman."
Montana began Phase 2 of its reopening on June 1. In Phase 2, bars, restaurants, breweries, and distilleries are permitted to operate at 75 percent of normal capacity. These businesses are asked to maintain strict physical distancing, and adhere to all other reopening guidelines.
Since June 1, the state has seen a dramatic increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases. Gallatin County remains the county with the highest cumulative number of cases in the state.