Gov. Steve Bullock

HELENA - Montana Governor Steve Bullock announced he will be prolonging the stay-at-home directive and increase food security measures in a press conference Friday, keeping non-essential businesses shut down.

The original March 26 stay-at-home directive was set to expire on Friday, April 10; however, Governor Bullock said he will be prolonging the order. The new date is unknown at this time, but Governor Bullock said he will be cooperating with health professionals to find out the appropriate date to lift the order.

He said he plans to announce when the new date will be sometime early next week.

Additionally, Governor Bullock said the state is increasing food security to those in need by twice the amount during the state of emergency.

For example, he said they are increasing food items free of charge from the federal government by twice as much to people and families in need. 

Governor Bullock added the state will drop interview requirements for the  Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Montana residents will not have to reapply for SNAP if their assistance program is ending during the state of emergency. SNAP program will continue automatically for those in need for one year which is expected to help out over 100,000 people in the state, according to Governor Bullock.

Governor Bullock also said Montana will make Womens, Infants and Children assistance program more accessible to those who have recently become mothers by offering resources by phone and by providing alternatives for specific food items if supplies run short.

"For example, if a store sells out of two percent milk," Bullock said. "The waiver would allow whole or skim milk to qualify as a WIC permitted substitute." 

During the press conference, Governor Bullock touched on the importance of following social distancing guidelines, noting about 10 percent of those who tested positive for COVID-19 are healthcare workers. 

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