Commerce Connection

montana department of commerce

Second Round of Business Stabilization Grant Now Available

Nearly 8,000 Montana businesses have been paid a Business Stabilization Grant and now each of those businesses is eligible for a second payment. 

Businesses awarded a grant prior to Aug. 12, 2020 are eligible to receive a second award equal to the first as long as they still meet the original criteria of the program: Montana-based, 50 or fewer employees, sustained loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in good standing with the Secretary of State or tribal government.

Businesses must use the additional funding to support their business operations by December 30, 2020, per CAREs Act guidelines. Funds may be used as 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.

Applicants do not need to re-apply to receive a second round of funding. Watch for an email from the Montana Department of Commerce instructing awardees on how to accept a second award. Responses are required by September 2. 

New applicants are eligible to apply for up to six months of working capital or $20,000 whichever is less.

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NEW! Live Entertainment Grant Program

The Live Entertainment Grant Program is available to Montana-based businesses and non-profits that are directly engaged in the business of live entertainment, and whose revenues primarily come from live entertainment events.

This grant is intended to ensure the long-term viability of live entertainment in Montana that has been severely impacted by COVID-19. Bars, restaurants, and other facilities whose primary business is anything other than live entertainment are not eligible. Businesses that are not directly responsible for the production of live entertainment events in Montana are not eligible. Examples of ineligible businesses include wedding venues, event support software, event rentals, and event planners.

To be eligible, applicants must have derived at least 33% of their 2019 revenue from the sale of tickets for live events. Eligible applicants’ revenue for Q2 (April 1 – June 30) 2020 must also no greater than 10% of 2019’s Q2 (April 1 – June 30) revenue. Total funding available is $10 million.


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NEW! East Edge of Glacier Park Tourism Business Grant

Tourism-reliant businesses in the Babb – St. Mary - East Glacier corridor may be eligible to apply for a grant of up to 25 percent of their 2019 gross revenue based on a 2019 tax return. The maximum award available is $40,000. Any Business Stabilization Grants or Agriculture Adaptability Grants awarded to the business will be deducted from the eligible East Edge of Glacier Park Tourism Business Grant total.

The business must be located along the eastern edge of Glacier Park in the immediate vicinity of East Glacier, St. Mary or Babb, and must be a Montana-based business, pay Montana taxes, in good standing with the Secretary of State or local tribal government. To be eligible, a business must have exhausted the grant opportunities made available through the Business Stabilization or Agriculture Adaptability grant programs. Nonprofit entities are not eligible. Total funding available is $2 million. 

Applications open August 19, 2020 at COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV. Homepage

Montana Tourism Industry Unites for ‘Montana Aware’ Campaign

The Montana Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism and Business Development has launched the “Montana Aware” campaign to promote safe and responsible behavior among those who are traveling in the state. The public health initiative aims to educate residents and visitors on best practices to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Our top priority is to keep those who live, work and travel in Montana safe,” said Commerce Director Tara Rice. “It’s important that we put safety first and adventure second because we all have a shared responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19.” 

The “Montana Aware” initiative is a formalized effort encouraging Montana’s tourism partners and local businesses to use flyers, posters, social media messages, customer emails and business websites to help inform guests about public health guidelines and best practices. The Montana Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism and Business Development first began promoting a safety message on June 1 and worked with tourism partners to do the same. Through the formal “Montana Aware” campaign, 17 of Montana’s Convention and Visitors Bureaus and six tourism regions share $5 million to promote the initiative.

Montana Aware Badge


Gardiner CVB, Belgrade CVB, Miles City CVB, Livingston CVB, Red Lodge CVB, Glendive CVB, Havre CVB, Billings CVB, Big Sky CVB, Bozeman CVB, Missoula CVB, West Yellowstone CVB, Great Falls CVB, Kalispell CVB, Whitefish CVB, Butte CVB, Helena CVB       


Southeast Montana, Southwest Montana, Central Montana, Missouri River Country, Glacier Country, Yellowstone Country      

Safe Travel Guidelines

Before travelers hit the road, they should, “Know before you go.”

  • Know the local public health guidelines before arriving to their destination
  • Understand some services and destinations may be limited
  • Stay home if they’re sick

When travelers are on the road, they should:

  • Wear a mask – face coverings are required in certain indoor spaces and for certain organized outdoor activities in counties currently experiencing four or more active case of COVID-19
  • Maintain social distance (at least 6 feet apart)
  • Wash their hands and use hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching their face
  • Cover coughs and sneezes

The “Montana Aware” initiative is funded with federal dollars through Montana’s Coronavirus Relief Fund. For more information about the Montana Aware program go to VISITMT.COM. To download the partner toolkit visit MARKETMT.COM

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.

If you're looking for a Montana-made mask, check out our list of companies producing masks, sanitizers and other PPE. 

Click for Montana Made Masks


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. 

Emergency Housing Assistance applicants who need assistance with the application can contact NeighborWorks Montana at or by calling 406.604.4500.

Apply here

A reminder to renters and landlords about evictions during COVID-19

Montana Housing at the Department of Commerce strives to work with landlords and tenants to make sure we can get through these challenging times together, with renters remaining in their homes and landlords receiving monthly payments.

Related to coronavirus, an eviction moratorium was put in effect by Congress and the President through the federal CARES Act, signed on March 27, and by Gov. Steve Bullock's various directives, first issued on March 30. The federal CARES Act included a moratorium on all evictions at federally covered properties, including all Housing Tax Credit properties, for nonpayment of rent for a period of 120 days through July 25, 2020. The eviction moratorium under Gov. Bullock's directives expired for most tenants on May 24, 2020.

However, some protections are still in effect. These are the protections that still apply to Montana renters, even after the expiration of the eviction moratoriums:

  1. For federally covered properties, the federal CARES Act requires a landlord who seeks to evict a tenant for nonpayment after July 25, to first provide tenants with a written 30-day notice to vacate. Read a summary of the CARES Act here.
  2. For all landlords in Montana, Gov. Bullock's directive provides a temporary halt on evictions and other landlord actions resulting from a renter's nonpayment of rent, utilities, or other monetary obligations. To qualify for protection, a renter must meet all three of these conditions:
  • Renter must have suffered a significant financial hardship as a result of the virus, and;
  • Renter must remain sheltered at home, and;
  • Renter must have at least one of these conditions is true for the renter or someone in the renter's household: they are over 65, have a serious health condition, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, or asthma or have an immune system that is compromised, such as by chemotherapy.

Under the directive, a residential landlord in response to a qualified renter's nonpayment must not:

  • Terminate a tenancy or refuse to extend the terms of a tenancy on at least a month-to-month basis
  • Charge or accrue late fees, interest, or other charges, penalties, or amounts due from a tenant because of nonpayment of rent
  • Increase the amount of rent payable under the terms of a rental agreement, except previously agreed increases or reasonable increases reflecting the size of the unit, number of tenants or guests or services provided by the landlord
  • Request the suspension or termination of any utilities provided by the landlord to the tenant, because of the tenant's nonpayment of utilities, rents or other amounts due under the rental agreement
  • Report a tenant to a credit bureau for nonpayment of a financial obligation
  • Seek or collect treble damages based on the failure of a tenant or authorized guest to vacate the premises
  • Terminate a tenancy or refuse to renew or extend the terms of a residential dwelling tenancy on at least a month-to-month basis.

Before moving forward with an eviction against a renter who is a member of a vulnerable population, the landlord must provide the renter with adequate notice of the opportunity to seek the protection of the Governor's Directive. See page 3 of Gov. Bullock's May 19 Directive.

Montana Housing encourages landlords and tenants to work together to avoid eviction. If an eviction is unavoidable, please consult your legal counsel to ensure compliance with all requirements of the federal CARES Act and Gov. Bullock's directives before evicting any tenants.

If you need help paying rent, mortgage or hazard insurance on your rental property, you may qualify for Emergency Housing Assistance or the Business Stabilization Program

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


Upcoming Application Deadlines 

Census Workers

Apply Now for Part-time Jobs with the U.S. Census Bureau

The Montana Department of Commerce and the Department of Labor & Industry are encouraging Montanans to apply now for temporary, part-time jobs with the U.S. Census Bureau to help Montana get an accurate count in the 2020 Census.

“Jobs for the 2020 Census in Montana are about neighbors helping neighbors to get every Montanan counted and help our state plan for the next ten years,” said Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney, who is the chair of the Montana Complete Count Committee. “Apply now – before time runs out – to get an accurate count for our state, help your community get its fair share of federal funding and put Montana in the best possible spot to gain a second seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.”

The U.S. Census Bureau has indicated it is still seeking to hire hundreds of workers in Montana by the end of August. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, workers began knocking on doors in Montana on August 8 to help households respond to the 2020 Census before September 30. Temporary Census jobs offer flexible hours, paid training, weekly paychecks and mileage reimbursement for personal vehicles. Wages start at $15.00 an hour and job seekers are encouraged to apply as soon as possible in order to complete the Census hiring process in time.

Specific areas of job needs in Montana include: All seven tribal reservation areas, Carter County, Deer Lodge County, Fergus County, Flathead County, Granite County, Judith Basin County, Madison County, Phillips County, Powder River County, Ravalli County, Richland County, Rosebud County and Wheatland County.

Montanans interested in applying may also do so online at 2020CENSUS.GOV/JOBS or through the MONTANAWORKS.GOV website, or may text “montanajobs” to 313131. Applicants are encouraged to call the Census Toll Free Job Hotline at 855-562-2020 and press option 3 to speak to someone to check the status of their application.

State employment specialists with Job Service Montana can also assist job seekers with the application process over the phone or by email. For a list of all Job Service offices across the state and their contact information, visit MONTANAWORKS.GOV/JOB-SERVICE-MONTANA.

Montanans who have not yet responded to the 2020 Census can do so by going to MY2020CENSUS.GOV, by calling 1-844-330-2020, or by mailing in their Census form if they received one in the mail.