Ways to Travel Responsibly and Safely in Montana
In Kalispell, Montana, we’re starting to welcome travelers back to our mountain town in the Flathead Valley and know there are a lot of elements weighing on everyone’s minds, including how safe it is to travel and ways to keep Montana healthy. Here in Montana, we’ve been counting our lucky stars that our governor, businesses and residents have taken the guidelines that were put in place in March very seriously and that through those efforts, Montana has had the lowest number of cases per capita in the country.
Because of this, we’re happy to share that as of Monday, June 1, 2020, we are officially entering Phase 2 of Montana’s reopening place, which includes the ending of the 14-day quarantine on non-residents coming into the state.
As you can probably imagine, continuing to keep Montana and our residents safe and healthy - while also ensuring it remains a place where visitors also feel safe, healthy and welcome - is going to take all of us working together cooperatively and responsibly. Whether you’re a traveler coming to Kalispell, a resident who calls this place home or a business who depends on both locals and visitors for support, we all have a responsibility to care for each other, look out for each other and be kind, all while enjoying summer in Montana.
Here are ways you can help keep Kalispell, Montana a safe place as we navigate through the next several weeks and start to welcome visitors back:
- Wear a mask. As of July 15th Governor Steve Bullock issued a directive that requires face coverings in businesses, government offices and other indoor spaces for anyone over the age of 5, effective immediately. A few other things to know: Face coverings are required at organized outdoor activities of 50 or more people when social distancing is not possible. Face coverings are not required when you are eating or drinking at businesses that sell food or drinks but should be worn when entering, ordering and in public areas such as restrooms.
- Be considerate, mindful and respectful. Montana businesses have been making significant efforts to maintain a clean, safe and healthy place for you to stay, visit, shop and dine. When you come to a local business, you’ll likely see signage on the door with their guidelines including masks. Take a few moments to read their policies, recommendations and more and be respectful of the efforts they are taking to keep you and their employees safe. Hotels and other lodging properties have cleaning policies they are following and each place wants you to feel comfortable staying in their rooms, cabins and accommodations. Feel free to ask individual properties about their cleaning processes, cancellation policies and more.
- Practice good hygiene, for all our sakes. We’re just going to stay it: if you or anyone in your traveling party doesn’t feel well, please don’t come to Montana. Instead, stay home, continue daydreaming of Montana and plan a visit for when you’re feeling well. When you’re here, be sure to wash your hands often (after all, that’s just good advice), use hand sanitizer and plan to have travel-size bottles with you in case you need it. And while you know this already, if you need to sneeze or cough be sure to do so in your elbow or in a tissue and immediately throw it in the trash and wash your hands. The public is also being advised to wear cloth masks when out and about, in particular when social distancing is not possible.
- Take advantage of Montana’s wide-open spaces. In Montana, we have lots of room to roam and plenty of space to breathe, all of which means there is plenty of room to practice social and physical distancing. Give folks room and stay six feet apart, whether you’re meeting them on the trail, crossing paths as you stroll through downtown, picking up your rental car at Glacier Park International Airport or pursuing shops and museums. Because heck, when you have as much room as we do, you should take advantage of it.
- Practice patience, have a plan and be flexible. Believe us when we tell you that we know there’s something completely magical about Montana. We also know that there are bucket-list places you want to see while you’re here, like Glacier National Park. But we also know that travel inside the park is going to look different than it has in years past (check out Glacier National Park’s reopening plan), including limited services, activities and lodging. Be prepared for waits to get into park entrances and have patience when looking for parking spaces, driving the Going-to-the-Sun Road and more. Find the last on Glacier National Park, including what’s open and available, here.
And remember, while Glacier National Park is our backyard treasure and we know you want to see it, there are so many other incredible places to explore (like Flathead Lake and Whitefish Mountain Resort) and seasoned guides and outfitters who are well-prepared to help you experience Montana, from fly-fishing to kayaking and guided hikes to whitewater rafting.
To sum it up, we want you to enjoy your vacation to Kalispell, whether you’re a Montana resident who is looking for a getaway close to home or a non-resident traveler who has been daydreaming about seeing Big Sky Country in person.
Tourism destinations throughout Montana are working together to keep the health and safety of residents and visitors the top priority. As a reminder, Montana has issued these new protocols and safety precautions:
- Know before you go: Know the local public health guidelines before arriving at your destination.
- Be Considerate: Wash your hands, wear face coverings, give people some space.
- Stay home if you’re sick. If you feel ill call Kalispell Regional Healthcare 24-hour phone line 406-890-7272.
- Understand some services and destinations may be limited: Plan ahead and be patient, flexible and kind.
We want you to be healthy and safe, while the well-being of our locals also remains at the forefront of our minds and efforts. It will take each of us - working together, being considerate of one another and being kind - to make sure that Kalispell remains a safe, wonderful and beautiful place. Thank you for your commitment to #TravelResponsibly as we soak up summer safely in the coming days ahead.