The Delta variant of COVID-19 is the main reason for new restrictions happening throughout the country, including Montana. The Blackfeet Reservation, east of Glacier National Park, is implementing a mask mandate. They have had 18 new cases, yet they are over 90 percent full vaccinated in the Reservation.

Speaking of national parks, The National Park Service has announced that - beginning immediately - masks are now required in all national parks around the country, regardless of an individual's vaccination status. The mandate applies to all indoor spaces within both parks, public transportation systems, and outdoor spaces where social distancing is difficult or impossible. If you're planning to head out to Glacier or Yellowstone in the next few weeks, you better not forget to bring your mask with you. I've gotten in the habit of having a couple of masks in the car whenever I head out.

Montana's Department of Public Health and Human Services' August 17 statewide update showed a new high number for this phase of the pandemic - 632 new positive tests. There are 206 people hospitalized in Montana with COVID , and there are over 3,000 active cases. In Missoula County, with an almost 70 percent fully vaccinated population, there were 63 new positive cases in the Tuesday report, with 275 active cases. Ravalli County had 17 new cases with 41 active cases. The vaccinations continue to climb. Now, Montana has over 452,000 people fully vaccinated.

The Montana COVID news for the next few days will probably be centered on schools. School boards are discussing what measures they will take when classes start up this month. Already, high school sports teams have started practices and golf teams have begun their competitive interscholastic season.

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.

LOOK: Route 66’s quirkiest and most wonderful attractions state by state

Stacker compiled a list of 50 attractions--state by state--to see along the drive, drawing on information from historic sites, news stories, Roadside America, and the National Park Service. Keep reading to discover where travelers can get their kicks on Route 66.

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