On Sunday, March 29, 2020, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez provided an update to the Navajo citizens about the deadly coronavirus and announced the curfew that begins Monday evening at 8 p.m. and last until 5 p.m. Photo from livestream.

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Wearing protective blue medical gloves, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez spent almost an hour talking to Navajo citizens about the deadly COVID-19 pandemic during a virtual town hall that was live streamed from tribal headquarters in Window Rock, Ariz.

Nez said the Navajo Nation will impose a curfew for the entire Navajo Nation beginning Monday, March 30, at 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. Tuesday morning. The curfew comes with an extended “Stay at Home Order.” The curfew will go into effect for those same hours seven days per week until further notice.

The curfew orders all individuals to be at home during curfew hours except in the event of an emergency. The curfew does not apply to essential employees reporting to or from duty, with official identification and/or a letter of designation from their essential business employer on official letterhead which includes a contact for verification.

On Sunday evening, the Navajo Nation provided an update that shows 128 individuals have tested positive for the COVID-19.

Nez admonished Navajo citizens to follow the stay at home orders. During the town hall, Nez singled out young people who he said have been ignoring the stay at home order.

“Stay home, stay safe! We are doing our best to keep people safe, but the government can’t do everything and that’s why everyone needs to stay home as much as possible. Every person is responsible for taking precautions to preserve their own health. This curfew is an added measure to protect our Navajo people, especially our elderly and high-risk. Everyone should read the new order entirely,” President Nez said. 

The extended Public Health Order also outlines the following provisions for essential businesses:

  • To the greatest extent possible, limit operations before 6:00 A.M. and after 7:00 P.M. to permit customers to obey the 8:00 P.M. to 5 A.M. curfew.   This does not apply to Essential Businesses that do not directly serve customers.
  • Restaurants and other businesses serving prepared food must provide an outdoor order station and/or a means for people to call ahead to place an order and enable individuals to remain in their vehicles for pick-up.  
  • Gas stations must either provide a fueling attendant to pump gas, enabling individuals to remain in their vehicles, or provide disinfectant wipes or spray for self-service customer use.
  • Banks and financial institutions must provide drive-thru services only.  Banker services can be provided to customers through technology-based means (i.e. telephone, web-based meeting, etc).  ATM services may be provided so long as disinfectant wipes or spray is made available for customer use.    
  • Grocery stores, food banks, convenience stores, hardware stores and the like are required to limit the number of customers in the store to no more than 10 customers at a time.  These businesses shall ensure that customers waiting to enter or pay maintain the required 6-feet Social Distancing. 
  • Post Offices, including rural mail delivery locations, are not required to provide curb-side or drive-thru delivery requirements, however disinfectant wipes or spray should be made available for customer use.
  • Laundry facilities shall limit customer occupancy to 2 people per household and no more than 10 persons at any given time, and shall make available disinfectant wipes or spray for customer use.  
  • All other Essential Businesses not specifically addressed in this section shall post a notice at their place of business with a contact number for customers to receive service during business hours, and also provide contact information for services on their company website, if any.   The purpose of this requirement is to limit in-person customer contact to the greatest extent possible, while still allowing customers to receive services. 

Lastly, the Public Health Order requires all Navajo Nation governmental entities, including all branches of government and all Governance-Certified Chapters, shall coordinate all COVID-19 public health efforts, plans, and relief through the Health Command Center to avoid duplication of effort or waste of resources, which has the potential to increase risk of exposure to COVID-19, including the potential loss of life. 

For more information including reports, helpful prevention tips, and more resources, please visit the Navajo Department of Health’s COVID-19 website at http://www.ndoh.navajo-nsn.gov/COVID-19. To contact the main Navajo Health Command Operations Center, please call (928) 871-7014.

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Author: Native News Online Staff