In his Wednesday press conference from Helena, Governor Steve Bullock ordered all public and private school students when school starts to wear masks both inside and outside the classroom to protect against the spread of coronavirus.

“Every other public and government building requires face coverings and there's no principled reason why the same shouldn't be the case in our schools,” said Bullock. “As such, I'm amending the July 15th directive on the mask requirement to include public and private K through 12 schools in counties with four or more active cases.  “That will apply to the indoor school spaces as well as to their organized activities outdoors.”

Bullock also promoted the release of federal monies to help parents deal with extra child care costs since many students will be learning at home.

“In addition to preparing our K through12 schools for back to school and as more Montanans return to work, we're also striving to ensure that there are options to provide high quality and flexible child care during this ongoing emergency,” he said. Yesterday I announced that we've directed $50 million dollars to increase childcare options for Montana families.”

In addition, Bullock for the first time acknowledged the burden that the COVID 19 pandemic has had on the live music industry in the state.

“The live entertainment grant program will provide up to 25% of a business's 2019 gross revenue or a maximum of up to 500,000 per applicant,” he said. “Programs are available to Montana based businesses and nonprofits in the live entertainment business and whose revenues primarily must come from those events, and applicants must have derived at least 33% of their 2019 revenue from the sales of tickets for live events.”

Governor Bullock has allocated nearly 80% of the CARES Act dollars, with over $210 million of that awarded, to help Montanans, small businesses, nonprofits, farmers and ranchers, schools and local governments and more toward economic recovery.