$1 million dedicated to testing

Keeping Big Sky healthy, safe and open

Big Sky now has $1 million in its arsenal dedicated to testing for COVID-19, which will help combat the virus and keep the local economy rolling. The value of this move was highlighted this week as all Italian ski resorts shut down for one month due to rising case numbers. Not very many communities have resort tax and the ability to dedicate substantial dollars to testing, Big Sky Resort Area District (Resort Tax) secretary and treasurer Steve Johnson said.

Resort Tax funding breaks down as $250,000 from the reserve, $250,000 from FY21 and $250,000 from FY22. The additional $250,000 comes from Visit Big Sky’s CARES Act grant provided by the state.

“With the $1 million we will be able to provide a baseline of support, anything above and beyond that baseline will require businesses to buy-in,” Resort Tax Executive Director Daniel Bierschwale said after the meeting. Resort Tax Vice Chair Sarah Blechta moved to accept the testing funding resolution, director Ciara Wolfe seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

With the vote, Johnson and chairman Kevin Germain, who are on the subcommittee, have been given the go-ahead to negotiate with labs.

They estimate a weekly commitment of between 400-500 tests to not only help local businesses and their workforce, but the community at large. Distribution guidelines of the tests will be established to ensure testing capabilities are equitable for all area organizations and community members.

Resort Tax will partner with Bozeman Health to administer the testing.

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