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Great Falls bars set for COVID-restricted New Year's Eve

Posted at 9:33 AM, Dec 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-30 11:33:39-05

GREAT FALLS — Making drinks at the Do Bar in Great Falls is something bartender Angela Hoffman doesn't take for granted: "Being at 50 percent capacity and being short four hours a shift, our financial status has gone down quite a bit,” she said.

Since November 20, to help combat the spread of COVID-19, the state has limited bars, restaurants, and casinos to 50 percent capacity and required them to close at 10 p.m

"As of right now, it's hard to really have an opinion about that,” Hoffman said. "We work for some really great people, and they have helped us out in many ways. They are making sure that the shifts are divided evenly so that everybody's able to maintain their bills."

"I think the restrictions are mildly overkill,” said Travis Teipel, general manager of MT Pints.

Teipel said while he doesn't necessarily agree with the COVID restrictions, the brewery makes sure to enforce them and New Year's Eve won't be an exception.

"That night will be interesting,” said Tiepel. " Closing at ten o' clock hurts business a lot for us. That 10 to midnight, it's a huge moneymaker for the staff and that tends to be when we get more of our bar business. So losing that, it's crucial."

Despite the restrictions, he still expects to be busy Thursday night.

(NOVEMBER 20) Governor Steve Bullock during a news conference on Tuesday announced a tightening of existing COVID-19 restrictions in Montana. The new rules go into effect on Friday, November 20. Masks will be required in all counties regardless of the number of active cases; the rule previously applied only to counties for four or more active cases.

In addition, capacity at restaurants, bars, and casinos will be reduced to 50%. A limit of six people per table will also go into effect. The businesses must close by 10 p.m.

Public gatherings will also be limited to 25 people where social distancing is not possible.

"We’re all sick of this virus. We all have to collectively recognize that this virus won’t stop spreading in our communities any time soon unless we take collective action soon,” said Bullock.

Click here to read the full text of the directive.