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Mountains Walking opened its dining area on Monday for the first time in nearly two months.

Customers can now sit inside the old warehouse on Plum Avenue and enjoy beer and a meal.

The opening has come with some changes. Employees are wearing face masks, there are additional cleaning protocols and a few tables and booths are closed to ensure customers stay 6 feet away from each other.

“The most important thing is for our community and staff to stay safe,” said manager Sarah MacDonald. “We decided to reopen just a couple of days ago because we didn’t want to reopen if there was a spike in cases.”

Monday was the first day bars, breweries, casinos, distilleries and restaurants could reopen in Montana as long as they complied with state and local protocols like those implemented at Mountains Walking.

Gallatin County has gone more than a week without an active case of COVID-19. The county has had 145 recoveries and one death from the disease. On Monday, the state reported 457 cases — two more than the previous day. Of those, 404 residents had recovered, six were hospitalized and 16 had died.

Monday’s reopening was part of a gradual loosening of the statewide restrictions that were meant to curb the spread of COVID-19. Churches can resume in-person services, retails stores have been able to reopen and people can now gather in groups of up to 10.

Foxtrot, Tanglewood and Sidewinders, three restaurants in Ferguson Farm, a development in west Bozeman, were among those that reopened Monday.The restaurants are owned by the same company.

Brittany Murphy, front-of-house manager at Tanglewood, said staff at all three were directed to rearrange tables in the restaurants to facilitate social distancing. They also are wearing face masks and cleaning surfaces more thoroughly. Guests on waitlists are encouraged to sit in their cars until a table is available instead of standing in the restaurants.

“We’re lucky we have the space to reopen safely,” Murphy said.

Bridger Brewing, which has been doing steady takeout business since its dining area had to close in March, is up and running again.

The bar area remains closed and groups larger than six are prohibited, but the patio and main dining space are operating at about half capacity, said host Logan Sigler. Customers came in Monday, but the brewery anticipates continuing to be busy with takeout.

Some Bozeman businesses remain closed as they work to follow new health and safety standards.

Backcountry Burger Bar plans to open Wednesday, said front-of-house manager Keisha Scionti. Staff members have changed the floor plan to add space between tables and have created new sanitation procedures. The restaurant has been offering takeout for the last several weeks, but with the ability to use its dining area, all staff will be returning to work.

The Molly Brown Bar is also aiming to reopen later in the week. Owner Allison Norriss plans to open Thursday and to allow about 50 people inside — many fewer than the bar’s 300-person capacity. Five of the nine pool tables and the poker table will remain closed.

Norriss also plans to place sanitation stations around the bar for customers and employees to wipe down surfaces and pool equipment.

“I was kind of wishy-washy on whether I was going to reopen,” Norriss said. “But my employees are ready to get back to work and feel we can do so safely.”

The reopening of bars and restaurants is the final step in the first phase of the reopening. The next phase, which includes the opening of businesses like gyms, pools and movie theaters, has yet to be announced.

“Every business is different in how they’re reopening and when,” said Ellie Staley, the director of the Downtown Business Partnership, which provides resources to Main Street businesses and is one of a few groups maintaining a directory of businesses’ altered hours. “Everyone has a different plan, but we do hope to see all our favorite businesses come back.”

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

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