Whitefish Chamber Friday Update
May 8, 2020
In this issue
  • Whitefish Lodging ban extended indefinitely; reopening plan released
  • Apply today for first wave of State COVID-19 relief programs
  • Gyms, movie theaters and museums can reopen on May 15 
  • Member updates ... Whitefish is getting "back to business!" 

In-state visitor stays OK in 'Phase 2'
Whitefish lodging ban
extended indefinitely  

      The City of Whitefish has extended its ban on "non-essential" overnight accommodations indefinitely, and aligned its plans with the Governor Bullock's three-phase plan for reopening the Montana economy.

      The local lodging ban had been set to expire this Sunday (May 10), but will now remain in effect until the State of Montana moves into Phase Two of the governor's plan.  It prohibits Whitefish lodgers from providing accommodations for anything other than "essential" purposes, which include: government, health care, law enforcement, domestic violence victims, personnel responding to the COVID-19 crisis, work related travel, family members of those seeking medical treatment, and individuals who have been directed to quarantine outside their home. 

Montana visitors will be welcomed in Phase 2
     There is no set date for the end of Phase One, but once the state moves to Phase Two, the City will allow hotels, motels, inns and other short-term rentals to accept reservations from vacationing Montana residents, but not from out-of-state or international travelers.  They will continue to be banned until the state moves into Phase Three, and the 14-day quarantine requirement is lifted by the governor.

     Due to the unknown duration of each step in the City's plan, reservations of all types may be booked by lodging facilities, but cancellations must be processed in a timely manner and prior to the guests' arrival in Whitefish.

     For more information on Amended Emergency Ordinance No. 20-08,  CLICK HERE to visit the City's website.
Online applications are already being accepted!
State unveils COVID-19 relief programs
     As Montana works to recover from the economic turmoil created by COVID-19 and our government's response to it, the State of Montana is making an array of emergency financial relief programs available through a single application portal at COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV

     The portal went live Thursday morning, allowing small businesses, nonprofits, cooperatives and food/ag businesses to apply for up to $25,000 in funding provided to the state by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  

Montana Business Stabilization Program
     The Montana Business Stabilization Grant program will provide working capital for small businesses to support payroll, rent, accounts payable, debt service and expenses related to shifts in operations in order to retain existing businesses, retain current employees or retain business viability for future re-employment. Eligible small business must be Montana-owned, employ 50 or less, have sustained a loss of revenue since Feb. 15 due to COVID 19, and be in good standing with the Secretary of State or local tribal government. The maximum award amount per business is $10,000. 

Montana Innovation Grant Program
     The Montana Innovation Grant program is intended to help companies scale up, improve capabilities, or drive expanded distribution of products or services developed in response to COVID-19.  Projects should demonstrate significant impact in improving public health, safety, and economic impact.  Eligible companies include non-profit and for-profit businesses of less than 150 employees that have created an innovative product or service intended to directly confront the COVID-19 emergency.  Total funding available is $5 million with a maximum award amount of $25,000.

Montana Food and Agriculture Adaptability Program
     Grants are available to food and agriculture businesses to help increase community resilience amid the COVID-19 pandemic and other economic disruptions. Grants are intended to create additional economic activity and bolster food security. Examples of eligible projects include, but are not limited to, those focused on accessing new markets, projects which strengthen and expand local food systems, and other business adaptations that decrease food and agricultural waste.  Total funding available is $500,000, with a maximum application amount of $10,000.

Social Services Nonprofit Grants
     Grants of up to $10,000 per applicant are available for nonprofit organizations impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency to retain existing programs and services, employees, or organizational viability for provision of future services and operations. Eligible applicants are registered, Montana-based social service nonprofits that were operating prior to February 15, 2020. This includes senior services, housing services, transportation, public safety, energy assistance, economic development, job training, recreational services and tourism-related activities. Current funding available is $10 million.

     For information on all of these programs -- or to apply -- visit COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV.
Governor announces more reopening plans
Gyms, theaters & museums can open May 15

     Gov. Steve Bullock announced yesterday that Montana gyms, fitness studios, movie theaters and museums may open to the public again on Friday May 15, as long as they adhere to strict guidelines  limiting capacity, requiring social distancing and imposing thorough sanitation requirements.

     According to guidelines released yesterday, museums, movie theaters, fitness studios, gyms and pools located in gyms can begin operating at 50-percent capacity.  In addition, pools at licensed public accommodations (hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, etc.) may also be used by registered guests beginning May 15.

     Other places of assembly -- including performance theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys, music halls and pools not located at gyms or licensed lodging facilities -- remain closed during this phase of the state's reopening plan.

      CLICK HERE to view the full press release from the Governor's Office, which includes detailed guidance and recommendations for owners, managers and staff of businesses planning to reopen next week. 
Member updates, reopenings & more
Getting back to business!

     We've weathered the storm (at least for now), and Whitefish is wasting no time getting back to business!

     Scores of local business owners -- and their crews -- were only too happy to leave the Stay At Home order behind last week and start the process of reopening the Whitefish economy.   If you've got things revved-up and want to spread the word, email  kevin@whitefishchamber.org  and we'll git 'er done!  

Here are a few recent update from your fellow Chamber members ... so what're you waiting for?  Get out there and Shop the Fish!
  • Whitefish Wellness -- We're open for business, seeing clients one at a time for massage and offering curbside pickup for aromatherapy products.  Small groups and classes to begin in June ... hopefully!  call 212-9014 or visit www.whitefishwellness.com  for more information and online booking.
  • SM Bradford -- Reopened their doors on May 2, and now open Tuesday thru Friday 'til further notice.
  • Tate Interiors -- They've reopened their showroom Monday thru Friday from 9-5, with a maximum capacity of 6 people maintaining social distance and wearing masks.  Don't have one?  They'll sell you a washable/reusable mask on the spot!  And make sure to congratulate Nancy and the crew on their 10th anniversary in business!
  • Glacier Guides & Montana Raft -- They're getting geared-up for summer in at Glacier Guides!  The Lodge and Guest House open on June 1; rafting, hiking, fishing and biking day trips start June 12 ... and then it's off to the races!  For more info, visit www.glacierguides.com/covid-19/.
  • Cypress Yard -- Now open for lunch from 11-2 and dinner from 4:30-7, Wednesday through Sunday, for dine-in or curbside pickup!  check them out a www.CypressYard.com or call 897-4772.
  • Fleur Bake Shop -- Whitney is getting things geared-up slowly at the Fleur, open Wednesday thru Sunday from 8-2 for walk-in service only.  You can pre-order online at www.fleurbakeshop.com, or call 730-8486.
  • Bookworks -- The good folks at Bookworks are back up-and-running from 11-4, Monday thru Saturday.
Whitefish Chamber of Commerce | P.O. Box 1120, 505 E. Second Street
Whitefish, MT 59937 | (406) 862-3501 |   whitefishchamber.org