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The Bozeman Community Food Co-op’s downtown location has temporarily closed after an employee tested positive for COVID-19, the business announced.

“This person has not been in the store for four days. We are working closely with the health department and are notifying those who were in close contact with this person,” the Co-op wrote in a statement posted to its social media accounts.

The West Main Co-op location has no confirmed cases with employees and remains open. 

General manager Kelly Wiseman said that he learned of the positive test result on Wednesday morning and immediately called the Gallatin City-County Health Department. While waiting for the health department's guidance, Wiseman said he looked at tape from the security cameras in the store to see if the employee had worked in close contact with any other employees for an extended time. 

"It wasn't an issue of no masks, it was an issue of distancing," Wiseman said. The store has required masks for both employees and customers since mid-May. 

"They were working too close together and they didn't have to ... They just kind of screwed up, and it's pretty easy to do in this day and age, but the consequences are pretty real," he said. 

Wiseman said three additional Co-op employees are quarantining because of close contact with the employee who tested positive. The work station of the positive employee and any phones, computers or tablets they touched will be thoroughly sanitized, as will other public areas in the store. 

There are also several Co-op employees at both locations who were identified through contact tracing unrelated to the store and are in quarantine but have not yet tested positive.

The Downtown Co-op will reopen on Friday at 11a.m., Wiseman said. 

Several other downtown businesses, in addition to the Co-op, have closed because an employee or customer tested positive after being in the business.

Open Range temporarily shut its doors last week after an employee tested positive for the virus after calling in sick to work for several days. The Rocking R Bar and Hail Mary’s restaurant also temporarily closed after contact tracing revealed the establishment had likely been exposed to the virus.

Bozeman Optical eye clinic temporarily closed because of COVID-19 exposure as well, though it’s unclear in that case if the exposure came from a staff member, a customer or someone else.

Montana’s Rib & Chop House in Livingston also temporarily closed after an employee tested positive for the virus.

Montana hit another new record for new positive case counts Wednesday with 145 new cases. The previous record was 125 new cases on July 9. Recent numbers have been exponentially higher than case counts prior to the shutdown in March. Prior to Montana entering phase two of its reopening plan on June 1, the highest new case count was 35 new cases on March 26.

There were 1,147 active cases of COVID-19 in the state as of Wednesday, with 915 people recovered. Thirty-four Montanans have died from the virus.

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Melissa Loveridge can be reached at or at (406) 582-2651.