Billings City Council sits further apart to socially distance at meeting

Also calls for blood donations amid COVID-19 response
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Posted at 10:07 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 00:07:35-04

BILLINGS — Members of the Billings City Council took unorthodox seating arrangements to set the example for social distancing and called for more blood donations at its Monday meeting.

“If anyone is tuning in on television, you will notice a very different layout here tonight. We want to follow the Centers for Disease Control recommendations for approximately six feet of separation for social distancing and model that for the rest of the community," Billings Mayor Bill Cole said.

Council members were seated around the chamber that also doubles as a city court room.

Staff members were seated where the audience usually sits.

"We’ve got staff in the audience, so it may be a little rough. But we are doing the best we can as we know that everybody in the audience and in our community is," Cole said.

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Members of the Billings City Council take seats all over the council chambers Monday to set the example of social distancing for the Billings community.

Ahead of the meeting, the Council asked members of the public to view the meeting online through Community 7 TV's live stream.

The mayor thanked the community and Yellowstone County's unified health command for their work.

“It’s a very fluid, fast-moving, dynamic situation and everybody is doing their very best. So thank you for all your hard work. Thank you for the patients of our community and their dedication to cooperating to stem the spread of this virus," Cole said.

The mayor also called on the community to donate blood as donations have dropped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In times like this, it’s very easy to feel powerless and frustrated that you can’t do more. One exception to that is the ability to give blood. The blood supply is in very critical short supply in Yellowstone County. Because of the COVID-19 situation, people have been less willing to travel and give less blood as they were before. Elective surgeries continue to happen, trauma continues to happen, the need for blood is very very real," Cole said.

Vitalant is the organization accepting blood in Billings. The facility is located at 1444 Grand Ave.

Vitalant hours of operation:

  • Monday: 7 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Thursday: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Friday: 7 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • Saturday: 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Sunday: 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Several local schools and churches have organized blood drives in the coming weeks. See the photo below for dates and times. Visit to find the closest blood drive to you.

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Locations and times for upcoming blood drives near Billings

RELATED: Billings blood banks say they're losing donors from coronavirus