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Montanans still enjoying certain outdoor activities during stay-at-home order

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Posted at 7:04 PM, Mar 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-29 10:34:23-04

The Montana stay-at-home order allows for some essential activities, including going outdoors.

Many enjoyed the spring weather and practicing safe social distancing this weekend.

“Oh it’s beautiful,” said Karen Weber, who walked in Swords Park with two of her friends. “We come out here every morning and walk for about an hour.”

“I just enjoy the landscape here,” said Florrie Bennett, one of Weber’s friends. “I enjoy every bit of it.”

“It’s so glorious out here and the mountains are so beautiful this morning,” said Lynda Petersen, a friend of Weber and Bennett. “The fresh air feels good.”

“It’s beautiful out there today,” said David Arnett, who walked with his wife in Swords Park. “It’s a little crisp this morning but nice walk. Getting out and enjoying some fresh air. Get away from being closed in.”

All the activity makes it almost like a normal weekend with people outdoors and relaxing.

“You need to be out here for your own mental health,” said Bennett.

“Just sitting in the house is not good mentally, “ Petersen said. “There’s nothing like good conversation and good friends.”

In his stay-at-home order, Gov. Steve Bullock said getting outdoors is an essential activity and people could do this as long as they comply with social distancing. The goal is curb the spread of COVID-19 in Montana.

“I urge Montanans to use good judgment,” Bullock said on Thursday in Helena. “If a trailhead seems too crowded, then just find another access point.”

“People are polite and doing what they need to do to stay with the directive,” Arnett said.

And they understand the benefits of social distancing.

“We all need to be in it together and respect each other and just help each other wherever we can and get through this,” Weber said.

“What’s going on today I think is God’s way of saying get closer to each other get to know each other,” Bennett said. “Help each other out. Do what you think is needed, not for yourself, but for others. “

“It’s important to not spread it,” Arnett said. “If you’re out there and taking walks or enjoying the outdoors or going out with friends, it’s important to maintain that six foot distancing.”

“We all pray for everybody and hope this virus gets taken care of as soon as possible,” Petersen said. “And life can go on for everybody”

While the order allows for outdoor activity, the governor states: "Montanans are discouraged from outdoor recreation activities that pose enhanced risk of injury or could otherwise stress the ability of local first responders to address the COVID-19 emergency (e.g., backcountry skiing is a manner inconsistent with avalanche recommendations or in closed terrain)."