The sign on the D&D Variety store says "I'll be closed till further notice," relaying a message that has become common in Lincoln due to the efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Montana Governor Steve Bullock's statewide stay-at-home order went into effect March 28, ordering residents and visitors to limit travel, ordering the closure of businesses not considered essential and mandating social distance measures.
While the initial closure orders affecting bars and restaurants had a noticeable impact on many for Lincoln businesses, most of those that continued to operate, even at a reduced capacity, are considered essential in one way or another under the governor's order, including repair shops, hardware, lodging and the liquor store.
The order may have closed the Variety Store, but manager Sharon Blake closed up shop more than a week ago, ahead of the order, out of concern for her own health during her battle with cancer. Likewise, Teresa Garland closed Garland Girls two weeks ago, while the Hi Country Trading Post closed the day before the stay at home order. Rusty Relics and Hairitage House Salon closed following the latest order.
Bullock's order ends April 10, but it may be prolonged following President Donald Trump's decision to extend federal social distancing guideline until April 20 in the face of increasing numbers of verified coronavirus cases and deaths as testing expands across the country.
For more information on business closures and the governor's directive, se our story "Bullock issues statewide stay-at-home order for Montana in response to COVID-19"