covid-19 resources


FOAM recently developed a newly-revised Acknowledgement of Risk & Release Form (May 2020).   This revised form incorporates the acknowledgement of the contagious nature of COVID-19 and the participant voluntarily assumes the risk that they may be exposed to or infected by COVID-19 by attending the activity or trip.  For the revised form, the language to create an assumption of the risk form and a release was combined, which gives you two ways to reduce a lawsuit under Montana law.

With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) radically affecting all aspects of our lives and livelihoods, we need to best navigate our outfitting businesses through this time for the best possible outcome.  Because this situation is unique for all of us, FOAM, through meeting with other outfitters, guides, public policy makers, and non-government organizations, put together this page of resources and links to help provide you with the necessary tools, information, and resources to help you navigate safely and successfully through this COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 2nd, FOAM hosted a webinar that featured key staff from the offices of Senator Tester, Senator Daines and Governor Bullock, along with representatives from trade groups and local banks.   The panel answered questions from our members on which programs might be best for individuals within our industry.  

Following the April 2nd Webinar, FOAM hosted a followup Webinar on April 10th, 2020.   This Webinar was a followup to last week’s popular conference call with industry experts and government representatives on the the current COVID-19 situation and the programs available to help those in the fly-fishing industry.  You can watch that webinar here.  You can listen to the Webinar here.  Please note that the Webinar begins 12:00 minutes in from the start of the video or audio.

Governor's Office


Montana Department of Labor and Industry, Podcast Town Hall phone meeting Question & Answer for unemployment insurance claimants.  Recorded on 14 April 2020.

A Livingston-area guide recently (12 April 2020) offered that he went to the Job Service office today, they confirmed that the Department of Labor local job service offices around the state  are available as resources to help with unemployment claim matters.  You don’t need to try to get through to Helena solely.  Specifically for those still dealing with a “locked” account/claim, if you have emailed Helena ( they at the local job service offices can locate your email, verify your info and forward it to the group that is unlocking profiles.

Who can sign up?

All W2 employees are eligible if there is lost employment (all or partial) due to COVID-19.  Independent contractors, outfitters and guides that operate as an LLC, sole proprietorship, or S-Corporation are also eligible.  There is some uncertainty on how your unemployment benefits will be calculated at this time, but the minimum amount from the state of Montana is $189 per week and $600 per week from the federal program, for a total of $789 per week.

Further information and FAQ’s on Montana Unemployment:

Sign up for Unemployment: | 406-222-2840

Small Business Administration (SBA) Funding Options

Payment Protection Program (PPP)

This loan provides loan forgiveness for retaining employees by temporarily expanding the traditional SBA 7(a) loan program.

More information on this program:

Link to application for PPP program (completed application needs to be filed through your local lender):–paycheck-protection-program-borrower-application-form

Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Emergency Advance:

This loan advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing economic difficulties.  Businesses as well as independent contractors qualify for this loan, which is slated to be treated as a grant with the loan being forgiven.  Applying for this loan/grant is highly recommended for ALL outfitters and guides as soon as possible.

More information on this program:

Sign up for this program:

SBA Express Bridge Loans: 

Enables small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express lender access to $25,000 quickly.

More information on this program:

SBA Debt Relief:

The SBA is providing financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

More information on this program:

Economic Development Associations

Another source for economic assistance is your local Economic Development Association.  You can find your local office here:


Non-Essential Business Closures

FOAM has received numerous calls from outfitters, guides, fly shops and shuttle companies wondering if they can still operate during the non-essential business closure.  In reaching out directly to the Governor’s office, FOAM has been advised that:

– providing guiding and outfitting services is considered non-essential

– fly shops are considered non-essential, though e-commerce is permitted. This allows for shipping of goods, but curbside pickup is not allowed during the closure

– shuttle companies offering shuttles for recreational activities are considered non-essential


Other Pertinent Information for Guides and Outfitters in Montana

FAQ’s on COVID-19:

Current information on COVID-19 in Montana:

The Redside Foundation, an excellent resource for unemployment resources, mental wellbeing, and strength for the guiding community:


Mortgage Relief:

A good article on steps to take for mortgage relief during the COVID pandemic. If your home loan was under $500K chances are you most likely have a Freddy or Fannie backed mortgage. So contact your mortgage lender if you want to request a forbearance for up to 180 days. There are no penalties or effects on your credit scores per the CARES Act. Your interest will still grow, and the feds aren’t paying your loan for you – just a break in payments during the crisis: