Polson Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Update

To our Polson Chamber Community:

The Polson Chamber of Commerce is working hard to keep you updated on COVID-19 (the coronavirus) developments. Below is an overview of national, state and local websites that we hope will help address any questions you may have.


*NEW: Reopening Montana – Complete 3-Phase Guidelines for Montana Businesses:

VIEW THE COMPLETE MONTANA PHASED REOPENING DOCUMENT: https://www.docdroid.net/XvJdCGP/reopening-montana-phased-approach-pdf

School Reopening Considerations


Frequent disinfecting of door handles, desks and other common spaces.

Require handwashing in regular intervals.

Keep libraries, gyms, and playgrounds off limits unless they can be sanitized between groups.

Provide hand sanitizer.


Implement temperature checks and / or symptom screening when practical.

Require anyone (students or staff) with COVID 19 symptoms to stay home.


Consider breaking larger classes into smaller groups.

Students may alternate school days or attend for half days.


Consider use of face coverings by all staff and students

Keep students with the same group and in the same classroom, with teachers rotating when practical.

Consider students eating lunch in the classroom to help limit mixing of students.

Cancel extracurricular activities.

Prevent any non school staff, including parents, from entering school buildings.

Consider reducing bus loads to allow for one student per seat.


Provide a live stream of graduation

Consider limiting spectator attendance

For larger schools, consider grouping graduates or providing multiple ceremonies

Follow social distancing between families


For students, teachers, and staff in an at risk group:

Schools that reopen will need to take into consideration that some teachers and staff will fall into the at risk category because of their age or other health risks. These individuals should have additional accommodations including: teaching classes remotely, utilizing a larger classroom where social distancing can be maintained, or given an option not to return until the risks are reduced.

Students who are high risk or who have family members who are high risk should not be penalized for failing to attend and should continue to receive remote support.

Accommodations should also be extended to students and staff who are required to quarantine due to exposure or potential exposure.


Collaborate with public health to ensure each school has a plan for reporting, contact tracing and both short term or extended closures in the case of a positive COVID case related to the school or community.

Utilize CDC guidelines https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019 ncov/community/schools childcare/guidance for schools.html

General Business Reopening Guidelines


Health assessments must be conducted for all employees at the beginning of each shift.

In establishments where customers wait in a line, non household customers should remain physically distanced.

Waiting areas where adequate physical distancing cannot be maintained must be closed.

Customers should be encouraged to call for a reservation or an appointment, or establishments should use an online wait listing application.

Physical distancing of 6 feet must be maintained between non congregate customers, this may require:

A reduction in capacity;

A reduction of seating in service and waiting areas;

Management of waiting areas and waiting lines; or

Systems that reduce the amount of contact time between customers and staff.


Non congregate group size has increased from 10 people to 50 people.

All other provisions remain the same as Phase One for general business operations.


Return to normal operations.

Restaurant / Bar / Brewery / Distillery / Casino Guidelines


A specific cleaning plan must be implemented, and employees must be trained in proper sanitation practices. Materials will be available on the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) food and consumer services website.

All surfaces occupied must be cleaned between customers, including tables, chairs, booths, and highchairs.

Table items including, condiments, menus, napkins, and décor, should be removed from the table unless they can be adequately cleaned between customers.

Menus must be cleaned between customers.

Growlers and refillable or reusable containers must be cleaned prior to being refilled.

Gaming machines must be adequately cleaned between customers.


Capacity must be limited to 50% of normal operating capacity to allow for adequate group spacing.

Tables must be limited to six people per table.

Establishments must provide for 6 feet of physical distancing between groups and or tables by:

Increasing table spacing, removing tables, or marking tables as closed;

Providing for a physical barrier between tables; or

Back to back booth seating provides adequate separation.

In house dining for quick service restaurants should remain closed, if all guidelines can’t be met, including the cleaning of every table between customers.

Sitting or standing at bars or counters is not allowed.

In bars, drinks and food must be served to customers at a table.

Self service buffets must be closed.

Drink refills are not allowed.

Self service cups, straws and lids should be behind a counter and handed to customers

Self service condiments should be eliminated.

Gaming machines that are operational must be separated by 7 foot center to center. Machines must be placed out of service if adequate spacing cannot be assured.


Capacity may be increased to 75% of normal operating capacity.

Tables must be limited to 10 people per table.

Establishments must continue provide for physical distancing between groups and or tables but may increase capacity.

In house dining for quick service restaurants should remain closed if all guidelines can’t be met, including the cleaning of every table between customers.


Continue to practice social distancing when practical.

Establishments should begin to resume normal occupancy while continuing to follow the guidelines for all facilities.

Outdoor Recreation Guidelines


Public lands, fishing access sites, and parks are encouraged to continue to provide outdoor recreation opportunities for local and regional users provided that users can adhere to strict social distancing guidelines and facilities follow frequent sanitizing protocols. Areas that cannot practicably implement social distancing requirements or sanitation needs will remain closed. Limited campground offerings, group use facilities and playgrounds, may be opened at the discretion of local and state managers . Local, state and federal officials are strongly encouraged to coordinate on all reopening decisions. Guides and outfitters may offer services consistent with any ongoing quarantine travel restrictions provided they adhere to social distancing guidelines and sanitation protocols. Visitors should check the status of any closures and restrictions before traveling.


Campground, group use facilities, playgrounds and visitor centers are fully open.

Personal Care / Services Guidelines


Operations that require close personal contact for an extended period result in exposing staff and customers to greater level s of risk. These situations require additional safety and health precautions. 

Screen customers prior to appointment for symptoms of fever, shortness of breath or a cough. Customers that have any of these symptoms must be rescheduled.

Utilize a face mask for staff and for customers when practical.

Stylist / artist / service provider and customer would be a “station” that would be 6 feet away from other “stations”.

Provide for 6 feet of physical distancing between stations, this may require:

A reduction in capacity;

Increasing spacing, removing stations, or marking stations as closed;

Providing for a physical barrier between stations;

A reduction of seating in service and waiting areas; or

Systems that reduce the amount of contact time between customers and staff.


Establishments should continue provide for physical distancing between stations.


Continue to practice physical distancing when practical.

Establishments may resume normal occupancy while continuing to follow the guidelines for all facilities.

Additional Updates

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes has ordered everyone within their jurisdiction to stay at their place of residence except as needed to maintain critical necessities.

*NEW: Governor Bullock Announces Coronavirus Relief Fund Task Force: https://dphhs.mt.gov/aboutus/news/2020/coronavirusrelieffundtaskforce

Governor Bullock issues guidance on childcare facilities to ensure access for Montana’s essential workers: https://dphhs.mt.gov/aboutus/news/2020/additionalguidancechildcarefacilitiesensureaccessforessentialworkers

Montana directive temporarily stops evictions, foreclosures and cancellations of utilities: https://news.mt.gov/governor-bullock-announces-consumer-protections-to-lessen-financial-hardships-on-montanans-during-covid-19-pandemic

Governor Bullock directs 14-day quarantine for all travelers arriving to Montana from another state or country: https://news.mt.gov/governor-bullock-directs-14-day-quarantine-for-travelers-arriving-in-montana-from-another-state-or-country

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Resources: https://www.uschamber.com/co/small-business-coronavirus

Small Business Association provides Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources

Funding Programs and Business Support for Small Businesses impacted by COVID-19:

  • NOTE: The Polson Chamber does not specifically endorse any of the programs above, and is only providing the list to inform businesses of some opportunities that may be available. The Chamber encourages business owners and employees to investigate any third-party lending or grant program fully before making an informed decision to partake in an application process

The Lake County CDC has created a new COVID-19 Resources page on their website to provide guidance, information and resources to aid businesses and the greater Lake County community: https://lakecountycdc.org/covid-19-resources/

Additionally, the CDC has created a website with resources and information for business owners and employers, which you can find here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html

Here in Polson, we have several important developments that we’d like to point out:

  • Polson Schools remain closed
  • Boys and Girls Club of the Flathead Reservation remains closed but is providing meals to children ages 0-18 in the greater Polson area
  • The Polson School District has cancelled spring extracurricular activities at this time
  • All CSKT Fitness Centers and Community Centers are currently closed to the public

If you are hosting an upcoming event and are unsure whether or not to cancel, know that the CDC currently recommends that organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more for the next 8 weeks. Additional information regarding events and gatherings can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/mass-gatherings-ready-for-covid-19.html

Also, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) website is offering guidance for businesses and employers to plan and respond to COVID-19: https://www.sba.gov/page/guidance-businesses-employers-plan-respond-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

Thank you, Polson! The immediate future may prove to be a strange and concerning time, so let’s all remember to stay careful, calm, and kind throughout. We at the Chamber will continue to do our best to update links and pass along information as we receive it, and we are already developing ways through which we can best support our local businesses in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

In the meantime, many of our Chamber members are clean, sanitized, and open for business! Until we hear otherwise, let’s continue to support our amazing Polson business community and enjoy what our wonderful small town stores have to offer!


The Polson Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors


Montana State Resources:

The COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly, and some of the links below may change over time. To stay up-to-date, visit Montana’s COVID-19 Information Website at: https://covid19.mt.gov

Latest Updates for COVID-19 Confirmed Cases in Montana

Interactive Map

Commissioner of Securities and Insurance 

Montana Health Insurers Expanding Telehealth Coverage to fight COVID-19

Department of Administration

DOA HR COVID Information

Exigency Procurement of Services and Goods

Department of Commerce

Travel Alerts – COVID-19 Update

Responding to COVID-19 – Guidance from Montana’s Tourism Industry Partners

A Message to Businesses from Gov. Bullock Regarding COVID-19

SBA Disaster Assistance

SBA Approves Montana’s Request for Emergency Small Business Loans

Montana Housing Guidance on COVID-19

Additional Links:





Department of Health and Human Services

HHS COVID Information

Department of Labor

DLI COVID Information

Montana Works

Gov. Bullock Announces Emergency Rules to Streamline Unemployment Benefits for Workers Impacted by COVID-19

Department of Revenue

Questions on Payment Plans

Special Note to Alcoholic Beverage Licensees Regarding COVID-19

Revenue Distributions to Local and Tribal Governments

Montana Judicial Branch

Montana Courts Protective Measures COVID-19 Concerns

Montana State Libraries

COVID-19 Resources for Librarians