Downtown Dinnertime

Stools are up on the tables at a closed Burger Bobs on Wednesday in Bozeman.

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Gov. Steve Bullock has announced a statewide closure of dine-in food service, alcoholic beverage service businesses and other communal areas.

The governor’s order shutters public dining and drinking spaces, cigar bars, indoor recreation facilities, indoor areas at ski hills, hot springs, theaters, music venues, nightclubs, bingo halls, casinos and bowling alleys.

Restaurants and other businesses can still offer takeout, curbside pick-up, drive-through and delivery.

There are limited exceptions for food service establishments that are the primary source of food for some people, such as university cafeterias and health care facilities.

The closures end at 11:59 p.m. on March 27, but Bullock said he would likely extend the closures.

Bullock’s announcement comes as more cases were announced across the state. In a press call Friday afternoon, Bullock announced two new cases — a Madison County woman in her 50s and a Lewis and Clark County man in his 30s — bringing the state total to 17.

“It is time to make sure we have some uniformity in closures,” Bullock said. “It is in both urban and rural areas of our state, so a uniform closure order seemed to me and, after consulting with others, most protective of human health.”

Earlier this week, several counties enacted similar orders and some businesses decided on their own to close temporarily.

Gallatin City-County Health Officer Matt Kelley ordered the closure of all public dining and drinking areas on Monday, citing concerns about large gatherings on St. Patrick’s Day. Kelley’s order was set to end on March 24 at 8 a.m.

The city-county board of health then expanded and extended his order on Wednesday. Now, all communal areas are closed until April 3, which means that Gallatin County’s order could be in place longer than the statewide directive.

The restrictions are taking a toll on businesses.

In Madison County, the closures were enacted Tuesday and were set to end March 24. Bullock’s statewide directive extends the closures there.

“It’s a challenge,” said Hope Light, the personnel manager at Alley Bistro in Ennis.

The restaurant is only offering takeout and has had to schedule employees for fewer shifts. Layoffs may be coming.

“We’re just taking this day-by-day and responding the best we can,” Light said. “We’re trying to take care of our employees and help in any way we can.”

In Park County, which didn’t have required closures in place until Bullock’s announcement, businesses are working to adjust.

Sarah Faye, who runs Faye’s Café in Livingston, has reduced restaurant capacity over the last week to encourage social distancing. With Bullock’s order, she has had to lay off her five employees. She plans to run Faye’s Café alone, making all the food and dropping off deliveries. She is also posting recipes from her cookbook on Instagram and urging people to try them at home.

“I just want to be a shining light for people,” Faye said. “This is a tough time, but we can keep positive.”

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Perrin Stein can be reached at or at 582-2648.