Commerce Connection

montana department of commerce
Cooney at Coaster Cycles

Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney recently visited Coaster Cycles in Bonner which normally makes pedicabs, but is now making face shields.

75+ Montana Companies Step Up to Support Pandemic Response

Mask up with Montana-made products 

Governor Steve Bullock today praised Montana companies for pivoting their normal operations to produce cloth face masks, 3D-printed face masks, face shields, surgical gowns and hand sanitizer, and reminded businesses that funding is available to help support masking up.

“Large and small Montana producers have stepped up in a big way to meet the demands created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Governor Bullock said. “As we ask Montanans to mask up, social distance and remain vigilant when it comes to sanitizing, you can also support Montana-made companies making products to keep our fellow Montanans safe.”

More than 75 Montana businesses have stepped up to make in-demand products and have adapted quickly through the support of the Montana Department of Commerce, Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) at Montana State University. MMEC partners with and is funded through Commerce. Some of these companies have also received grant funds through the Montana Innovation or Business Stabilization programs created in response to the pandemic. 

Businesses that need to purchase protective gear like masks and hand sanitizer may be eligible for reimbursement through the Montana Business Adaptation Program. Organizations may be reimbursed up to $5,000 for eligible expenses. Apply at COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV.

Going from making pedicabs to protective face shields like Bonner-based Coaster Cycles, or from making world-class Gortex fly fishing waders to sewn surgical gowns like Bozeman-based Simms Fishing – these Montana-made companies are doing what they can to slow the spread of COVID-19.

-----> See the list of Montana-made mask and sanitizer producers here.

Mask Up, Montana

Masks are now required in counties with more than four active COVID-19 cases, and strongly encouraged in all other counties, for individuals over 5-years-old in public indoor spaces and outdoor settings where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Governor Bullock issued the directive July 15 to require businesses, government offices and other indoor spaces open to the public to ensure that employees, contractors, volunteers, customers, and other members of the public wear a face mask that covers their mouth and nose while remaining inside these spaces. The directive also requires face coverings at organized outdoor activities of 50 or more people, where social distancing is not possible or is not observed.

-------> The full directive can be found here

-------> The map of active cases can be found here.

Dollar sign graphic

Now Accepting Applications

The Montana Business Adaptation Program provides 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 March 1 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.

The Montana Business Stabilization Grant program will provide working capital for small businesses to support payroll, rent, accounts payable, debt service and expenses related to shifts in operations in order to retain existing businesses, retain current employees or retain business viability for future re-employment. Eligible small business must be Montana-based, employ 50 or less, have sustained a loss of revenue since Feb. 15 due to COVID 19, and be in good standing with the Secretary of State or local tribal government. Nonprofit entities are not eligible. Total funding available is $75 million, the maximum award amount per business is $10,000. 

The Social Service Nonprofit Grant program provides grants of up to $10,000 per applicant are available for nonprofit organizations impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency to retain existing programs and services, employees, or organizational viability for provision of future services and operations. Eligible applicants are registered, Montana-based social service nonprofits that were operating prior to February 15, 2020. This includes senior services, housing services, transportation, public safety, energy assistance, economic development, job training, recreational services and tourism-related activities. Current funding available is $10 million. 

Apply Here 


Apply at Your Bank: Montana Loan Deferment Program

Governor Steve Bullock has created the Montana Loan Deferment Program to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19. The governor is directing $125 million to the program with $25 million specifically dedicated to hotels and restaurants and the remaining $100 million dedicated to other eligible borrowers.

The Montana Loan Deferment Program is facilitated by Montana banks, credit unions, and lending institutions in partnership with the State of Montana. Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) will be used to provide payments to participating lenders to convert existing commercial loans to interest only status, with the result being an existing borrower will be able to defer principal and interest payments on existing loans for a period of 6 to 12 months, thereby freeing up a significant amount of otherwise-dedicated capital for the borrower on a monthly basis. Upon approval, the State of Montana will provide a lump sum CRF payment to the lender in an amount equal to the following:

  • For borrower obligations with interest rates less than 6%, an amount equal to the full interest payments for the eligible term will be funded; or
  • For borrower obligations with interest rates of 6% or higher, an amount equal to 6% interest will be funded.
  • For the duration of the eligible term, the lender will lower the interest rate to 6% for the modified deferral period.
  • For variable rate loans, the interest rate used in the calculation will be the interest rate applicable to the loan at the time the application is submitted and will be fixed at that interest rate for the term of the deferment.
  • The maximum amount of Loan Deferment Program funding per Borrower is $300,000. [Updated: 6/26/2020]
  • Entities and individuals with multiple loans for one or several businesses will be allowed to apply for each individual loan
  • Borrower is defined as an individual, corporation, limited liability company, partnership, association or any combination of these if there is common ownership. Including Holding and Operating Companies. [Updated: July 1, 2020]
  • It is the responsibility of the Lender and the Borrower to agree on a reasonable term for the deferment which will be no less than 6 months and no more than 12 months.


  • The Lender must be an Approved Lender with Montana Board of Investments (MBOI).
  • The Borrower must be a Montana-based business. Borrower is defined as an individual, corporation, limited liability company, partnership, association or any combination of these if there is common ownership. Including Holding and Operating Companies. [Updated: July 1, 2020
  • This program is extended on a per note basis, i.e. Lender’s may fill out an application for each current loan the Borrower would like deferred.
  • To be eligible, businesses/Borrowers must have:
      • Experienced a reduction of gross revenue of 25% or greater attributable to the direct or indirect impacts from COVID-19;
      • physical presence in Montana;
      • Been no more than 30 days past due as of December 31, 2019;
      • Been current on all other state financial obligations (i.e. income tax, property tax, payroll tax, worker’s comp, child support, etc.) as of March 12, 2020;
      • Good standing with the Montana Secretary of State; and
      • No reasonable access to 12 months of working capital from any other sources.
      • Receipt of Payroll Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, or other state grants or assistance programs does not affect eligibility. [Updated: July 1, 2020]

Montana businesses should contact their lender to access the program.


Mortgage, Rental Assistance Available

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

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

Transparency Dashboard Updated Weekly

The state of Montana has launched a dynamic dashboard that shows the Coronavirus Relief Fund grants that have been awarded to businesses and nonprofits. This dashboard will be updated weekly until all grant dollars have been expended. 

Funds have now been distributed to all 56 Montana counties. 


  • 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 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. 



Upcoming Application Deadlines 

Montana hospitals, Department of Commerce partner to ‘mask up’ Montana

As part of an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 across the state, the Montana Hospital Association and the Montana Department of Commerce have announced shipments of 45,000 free cloth face coverings to 25 communities statewide.

The Montana Hospital Association secured the reusable cloth face coverings and today begins shipping to distribution sites statewide. The face coverings are to be distributed free of charge to residents and visitors through the Department of Commerce’s network of Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVBs) and tourism region visitor centers.

“If we want to keep our economy open and ensure our state’s healthcare system has the capacity to treat all patients who need medical care, we need to mask up,” said Rich Rasmussen, president and chief executive officer for the Montana Hospital Association. “Until we have a vaccine, wearing a mask is one of the most simple and effective things we can do to keep the virus from shutting down our state. It also sets the tone with neighbors and visitors alike: Montanans wear masks and you should, too.”

The Department of Commerce is coordinating a statewide responsible visitor campaign in partnership with CVBs and Montana’s nonprofit tourism regions to ensure visitors and residents are doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“We’re asking visitors to our spectacular state to take the same safety precautions that Montanans are encouraged to follow,” Montana Department of Commerce Director Tara Rice said. “Masking up is one simple way all of us can slow the spread of COVID-19 and still enjoy Montana’s authentic experiences.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local public health officials recommend cloth face coverings whenever in public in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. According to a recent study [] from global investment firm Goldman Sachs, mask-wearing by every American could save the U.S. economy from a 5% drop in GDP, or approximately $1 trillion in reduced economic spending. 

The face coverings were produced by the National Council of Textile Organizations and made available through a joint program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The face coverings are 100% cotton jersey, bind around face and ears, and are treated with a 0.5% OWG Agion AMB-10 Antimicrobial to prevent the growth of viruses and germs. The masks are adult-sized and washable up to 15 times.

Distribution will occur at visitor centers in the following cities: Anaconda, Belgrade, Billings, Boulder, Butte, Cooke City, Deer Lodge, Dillon, Gardiner, Glasgow, Great Falls, Havre, Helena, Kalispell, Livingston, Missoula, Philipsburg, Polson, Red Lodge, Sidney, Virginia City, West Yellowstone, Whitefish and Wolf Point.