With three straight weeks of falling COVID-19 infections, hospitals with adequate supplies and tests available for all who need them, Gov. Steve Bullock last week unveiled a phased-in reopening of Montana that started on April 26. By lifting some of his directives, including the one requiring most Montanans to stay home, Bullock is putting the onus on individuals for this reopening to be done safely and successfully and not result in a big uptick in new COVID-19 cases.

Every Montanan should read the governor’s reopening directive. It’s available online at https://covid19.mt.gov/joint-information-center. Every individual needs to know what this directive says, what is allowed, what isn’t allowed yet, and what can be done to keep consumers and employees safe.

Individuals can do their part by aggressively hand washing, wearing masks in public and limiting their contacts. Businesses must be able to have social distancing in their locations, provide access to hand sanitizer or hand washing stations, take special care to provide services to vulnerable people, and make concessions to protect vulnerable employees.

The governor said: “I stress, however, that individual responsibility — such as good hygiene and strict adherence to social distancing — remains Montana’s best tool in the fight against new infections.

This directive is not an invitation to forget the lessons that Montana has learned in its fight against COVID-19 these past months. Rather, it is a framework to apply those lessons as we move toward a new normal.”