On March 26, 2020, Montana Governor Steve Bullock announced a “Stay at Home” order, which requires all non-essential businesses to close and for Montana residents who do not work in an essential or exempt industry to stay at home to the greatest extent possible. This order is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, attempting to slow social spread of the virus to Montana residents.
In response to inquiries from the Grow Montana Food Policy Council, the Montana Department of Agriculture and the Governor’s Office met and reached an agreement that Montana farmers markets will be exempted from the ban on social gatherings and the state’s Stay at Home order. Montanans will be able to purchase locally grown food at Montana’s 74 farmers markets, which will be treated the same as grocery stores under Governor Bullock’s order. Grow Montana will continue to coordinate with state officials to develop best practice guidelines for market managers and farmers.