I awoke this morning knowing I had to do more.
I am a native Montanan. My family owns a small restaurant that employees 25-30 employees and a small cattle ranch. As our restaurant closed and cattle prices plummet, I have spent the last weeks reassuring my fellow Montanans that all would be well by trying to make sure they had all they needed and implored them to do the same for their neighbors.
As our governor encouraged social distancing and shut down schools and businesses, again I assured our employees and friends all would be well, after all Montana is sparsely populated with a very low rate of infection. With schools and business closed social distancing and sunshine on the way, Montana was going to win this battle in short order.
While all of this could have been true, it will not be. I watched in disbelief as the spring break party continued in Florida, California and other party hot spots. After a passionate verbal display on the rampant irresponsibility of these individuals, partiers and providers alike (my daughter called this a rant) she also made me aware that some of these kids would be returning to Montana to mingle through our community at will spreading COVID-19 like glitter everywhere they go.
This is catastrophic for Montana.
There is only one way to solve this. We close borders and airports to non-essential travel.
I spent most of Tuesday pleading with health officials and politicians. While none disagreed with me, none had answers. As Tuesday evening approached things were getting worse as I saw many motor homes from Washington and California at truck stops in Missoula and Lolo. These are people trying to flee highly infected states.
So at this point anyone reading this letter gets it so what do we know and what do we do. Unlike the flu, a seemingly healthy person can shed this virus for weeks.
This shutdown in our state will not end as long as COVID-19 carriers come to our doorstep. If your home is Montana and you come home, you must self-quarantine. Commercial traffic must continue people need food and livestock must be cared for.
In closing, I leave you with these few thoughts. Only the governor can close the border, which I am praying he will do. Please call his office as well as other elected officials as we must close our borders. Last and most important, be respectful the people answering the phones as well as fellow Montanans. They are just as fearful as you. May God bless us all.
— Tony Hudson, Stevensville
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