What Does the Montana Stay at Home Order Mean? (FAQ)

Authored By: Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) LSC Funded


What does the stay at home directive mean?

The stay at home order is from the Governor of Montana, asking individuals to stay at home or at their place of residence. Homes or residences can include hotels, motels, shared rental units, shelters, and similar facilities. You may leave your home for certain essential activities.


What can I leave my residence for?

You may leave your residence for essential activities, as long as you can maintain a 6 feet distance from other people. Essential activities and travel include:

  • Visiting a medical professional
  • Purchasing necessary items like food, hygiene products, and medications
  • Going to work as an essential employee
  • Taking care of or transporting others
  • Outdoor activity that is safe and during which you are able to maintain a 6 foot distance form others

You may use public transportation if it is available. Public transportation has not been shut down but may be limited.


When can I leave my home?

You are allowed to leave your home for essential activities. There are no time restrictions in place. However, you are encouraged to go to stores and public places during times when those locations are not busy. For example, try to go to the grocery store before 5pm. You may want to contact the place you are going to see if they have restricted or changed their hours.


What do I do if my home is unsafe?

If your residence is unsafe or becomes unsafe, visit our section on Domestic Violence and COVID-19. If your home is unsafe for another reason, visit our section on housing resources.


What activities are prohibited under the stay at home order?

All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a household or living unit are prohibited. Travel is limited to essential travel, and individuals must keep a 6 foot distance from other people.


How do I know if I am an essential employee?

You should contact your employer to find out if you are able to work under the directive. Under the stay at home directive, businesses that are considered essential include:

  • Certain infrastructure operations
  • Certain state government employees
  • Healthcare operations
  • Human services operations
  • Stores that sell groceries and medicines
  • Food and beverage production and agriculture
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Media outlets
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
  • Financial and real estate services and institutions
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Critical trades like building and construction, plumbers, electricians, exterminators, clean and janitorial staff, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services, and security staff
  • Mail and shipping businesses
  • Laundry services
  • Restaurants that serve food through delivery or take out
  • Transportation business
  • Home-based care and services
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services such as legal servies, accounting services, insurance services, information services, real estate services
  • Manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
  • Critical labor union functions
  • Hotels and motels
  • Funeral services

A business or an employee might be considered essential based on the directive and not be working or functioning as normal. The business may voluntarily reduce hours or operations. Even if a business is open, the employer and employee still must keep 6 feet between individuals and provide proper sanitizing products and protocols.


Is this stay at home directive enforceable?

This directive is enforceable by the County Attorney.


How long will the stay at home order last?

This directive will last until April 10, 2020. It may be extended at that time. For changes and up to date information, visit


Where can I read the complete stay at home directive?

You can read the Governor's directive here.



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Last Review and Update: Apr 03, 2020

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