Commerce Connection

montana department of commerce

Business Adaptation Grants
Now Accepting Applications 

The Montana Business Adaptation Program will provide reimbursement for COVID-19 expenses related to keeping staff and customers safe – from the purchase of personal protective equipment to resources needed for staff to work remotely. Eligible small business must be Montana-based, employ 50 or less, have incurred eligible adaptation expenses since Feb. 15 due to COVID-19, and be in good standing with the Secretary of State or local tribal government. Nonprofit entities are eligible. Eligible expenses include costs related to communication, remote work equipment, cleaning supplies, tools to enhance social distancing and sanitation, travel and hotel costs related to quarantining workers. Total funding available is $20 million, the maximum reimbursement amount per business is $5,000.

Apply Here 

Governor Steve Bullock

Coronavirus Relief Fund Grant Programs Still Accepting Applications

Governor Steve Bullock launched nine new programs on May 7 for Montanans out of work, families with limited resources, small businesses, non-profits and others impacted by COVID-19.

Applications are still being accepted for financial relief for things like rental and mortgage assistance, business and non-profit grants, grants to serve seniors and those living with a disability, food banks and local food producers.

Learn more and apply at COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV.

Montana landscape hiker

Montana is now in Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan

The health and safety of our citizens and visitors is our top priority. While visiting our spectacular state please be prepared for some new protocols and safety precautions.

  • Know before you go: Know the local public health guidelines before arriving at your destination.
  • Stay home if you’re sick.
  • Understand some services and destinations may be limited.

Governor Steve Bullock is asking visitors to do their part slow the spread of COVID-19 which means taking the same social distancing and sanitation precautions as Montanans. 

The June 1 reopening of Montana’s tourism amenities and services will be gradual. It’s important to understand what is open and closed before arriving in the state. Tribal Nations in Montana have extended stay-at-home orders indefinitely and continue to exercise caution to protect their elders and other vulnerable populations from the spread of COVID-19. At this time, all tribal lands are closed to visitors. Refer to each tribal government website for real-time updates. 

Travelers can expect the Montana National Guard to continue to conduct screenings in airports and train depots and refer anyone with COVID-19-related symptoms to local public health officials. 

To support Montana’s destination communities, the state will assist with establishing the following protocols:

  • Establish test centers and ensure adequate supplies are available to meet resident, seasonal employee, and visitor needs within Montana’s most visited destination communities.
  • Coordinate a community snapshot testing plan to create an early warning system for potential community spread in the most highly visited and highly vulnerable destination communities. 
  • Develop contingency plans for managing sick visitors, including contact tracing capabilities.

The state will also develop an informational campaign to encourage visitors to learn local guidelines and restrictions before they visit, to stay at home if sick, and to convey that some services in destination communities will potentially be limited during this year’s tourism season.

  • Phase 2 Effective Monday, June 1:
    • Phase Two will allow places of assembly to become operational that did not open in Phase One beginning on June 1 as long as they can meet social distancing guidelines and limited capacity requirements. 
    • Group gatherings can increase from 10 to 50 people. Avoid gathering in groups of more than 50 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing. Groups larger than 50 people should be cancelled unless physical distancing can be maintained. 
    • Capacity can increase from 50 percent to 75 percent.
    • Concert halls, bowling alleys, and other places of assembly may operate with reduced capacity and if they adhere to strict physical distancing guidelines.
    • Vulnerable Montanans should still continue to stay home when possible during Phase Two. 
    • Visitation at nursing home and assisted living facilities remains suspended except for certain compassionate care situations. 
    • Employers should continue to encourage telework wherever feasible
    • The 14-day travel quarantine for out-of-state travelers and residents arriving from another state or country to Montana for non-work-related purposes will also be lifted on June 1



  • Montana COVID-19 Hotline: 1-888-333-0461 or 
  • Montana Coronavirus task force: COVID19@MT.GOV
  • If you are a business owner and have questions related to the April 22 announcement detailing the phased approach to reopening and how the plan applies to you directly, please call 1-800-755-6672.

  • If your question relates to unemployment insurance/benefits, please contact the Department of Labor and Industry at 406-444-2545. If you think you are eligible for unemployment benefits accessible to workers laid off due to COVID-19, you can apply for benefits online at: or contact the Unemployment Insurance Division over the phone at 406-444-2545.

  • CDC:
  • Visit Montana: VISITMT.COM or 1-800-847-4868


Workplace, Employer Resource for COVID-19 Questions

The Montana Department of Labor is posting frequently asked questions and resources for businesses and employees at its new webpage dedicated to providing novel coronavirus-related information. 



HB 52 Report Submitted 

The Montana Departments of Commerce and Agriculture have submitted its HB 52 Report as required by the Legislature. 

This report marks the beginning of a more streamlined and consistent approach to measuring the impact of the programs housed within the Montana Department of Commerce. We listened to lawmakers who said they wanted to better understand the collective impact of investing $3.365 million into Montana businesses.

Commerce has streamlined its definitions of jobs and businesses supported across all of its business development programs, and is using one tool, Salesforce, to organize information provided directly from business clients, regional economic development partners and university partners. This tool will also allow the Department to better inform lawmakers and the public of impacts that are more difficult to measure.

A big THANK YOU to our partners who submitted content for this collaborative report! 

 -----> Read the full report here 

Montana Census Logo

More than Half of Montana Households Have Responded to the 2020 Census

More than half of Montana households have now self-responded to the 2020 Census, yet the state still lags behind the national average for responding to the once-in-a-decade count.

Self-responding to the Census means the household has filled out the form without a federal Census taker visiting the home. 

The national self-response rate is currently 60.5 percent while Montana’s self-response rate is 51.5 percent. 

“Filling out your Census form is one of the most important things you can do for your community,” State Complete Count Committee Chairman and Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney said. “An accurate count of Montanans doesn’t just matter today, but for the next decade.” 

Counting everyone in Montana is critical because it determines the state’s share of federal funding over the next ten years, it shapes local voting districts, and it determines whether Montana will get another representative in Congress.

Montana receives an estimated $2 billion in federal funds each year based on Census data. For every Montana resident counted, a Census study estimates the state will receive $20,000 over the decade for things like schools, healthcare and highways. 

Now that federal U.S. Census Bureau workers have resumed some field operations in Montana, an estimated 200,000 Montana households that have not yet received an invitation to participate will get an official 2020 Census packet left at the door. The packet will include the Census form and a postage-paid envelope. Census workers will make up to six attempts to get a complete 2020 Census questionnaire for each household.

All Montanans can now fill out their 2020 Census online, by phone or by mail – even without receiving an official invitation to participate. The 2020 Census is available to fill out now online at, by phone at 1-844-330-2020, or via mail if a household has received a paper questionnaire. 

 -----> Stay up-to-date on Montana’s 2020 Census self-response rate at CENSUS.MT.GOV.


Mortgage, Rental Assistance Available

Montana Housing’s Emergency Housing Assistance program provides rent, security deposit, mortgage payment, and/ or hazard insurance assistance as-needed for Montanans who have lost a job or substantial income loss as a result of COVID-19. 

Initial payments may include up to three months assistance where the eligible household can demonstrate arrears for April and May, with continual inability to make their June payment. Montana Housing will pay the difference between 30 percent of the household’s current gross monthly income and their eligible housing assistance costs, up to $2,000 a month. Household income limits range from $75,000-$125,000 based on family size. Montanans receiving other forms of housing assistance are not eligible.

Renters and homeowners can estimate their assistance payment using this calculator. 

Apply here


Upcoming Application Deadlines 

  • June 12, 2020: Treasure State Endowment Program (TSEP) construction application deadline. 
  • September 15, 2020: CDBG Affordable Housing Development and Rehabilitation application deadline. Learn more and apply here
  • September 15, 2020: CDBG Community and Public Facilities application deadline. Learn more and apply here. 
  • Ongoing: CDBG Housing Stabilization Program applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Learn more and apply here
  • Ongoing: CDBG Economic Development Program applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Learn more and apply here.