Navajo Police have been enforcing the nightly curfews on the Navajo Nation.

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — With the number of COVID-19 cases growing on the Navajo Indian Reservation, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Mryon Lizer signed a new Public Health Emergency Order, extending the 57-hour weekend curfew for two additional weekends in the month of April. The order also requires essential businesses to close down during weekend curfews due to community spread of COVID-19.

As of Thursday evening, the total number of positive COVID-19 cases reached 1,042  with 41 deaths. 

The first weekend curfew will begin at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, April 17 and ends on Monday, April 20 at 5:00 a.m. (MDT). The second weekend curfew will begin at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, April 24 and ends on Monday, April 27 at 5:00 a.m. (MDT).

“The previous 57-hour weekend curfew was effective in keeping people safe at home and we’re optimistic that the upcoming weekend curfews will produce even better results. Everyone needs to plan ahead for the weekend curfews, purchase what you need during the week, but do so in a safe manner,” Nez said in a statement.   

“The projections are alarming, but the decisions and actions of the public are the biggest factor when it comes to the numbers of positive cases. We’re fighting hard, but it’s very disheartening when we receive reports of large numbers of our own people traveling and crowding stores in border towns. Everyone needs to do their part to educate their loved ones and to hold each other accountable if we want to bring down the numbers,” Nez said.  

Public Health Emergency Order 2020-006 states that all individuals shall remain at home during curfew hours except in the event of an emergency and as described below:

  1. This curfew does not apply to Essential Employees reporting to or from duty at an Essential Business that is exempted from closure below, provided that the employee must have official identification or a letter of designation from their employer on official letterhead which includes a contact name and number for verification. 
  2. Individuals are still permitted to tend to livestock during Weekend Curfews.  However, plan ahead to purchase hay and feed, if needed, as vendors will not be permitted to operate in the public during the Weekend Curfew.
  3. Individuals are not required to remain indoors during Weekend Curfews, but must limit movement beyond the immediate area of a residence or home site.
  4. Additional Weekend Curfews may follow.  

The public health order also outlines the following provisions for essential businesses:

Essential Businesses, including restaurants and drive-through food establishments shall be closed. Hay and other roadside vendors must cease operations for the duration of the Curfew Weekend. This closure and cease operations requirement does not apply to Healthcare Operations, Essential Governmental Functions, or Essential Infrastructure Activities (as those terms are defined below). This closure requirement does not apply to gas stations and grocery stores, provided they comply with the following requirements:

Gas stations may operate on a limited basis to meet the needs of essential employees reporting to or from duty and people traveling for emergencies only.  

  • Operating hours may only be between 7:00 A.M. MDT and 5:00 P.M. MDT only during curfew weekends.
  • No more than 5 customers at a time may be in any retail area, and no more than one (1) person per family with exception of one accompanying caregiver for an elderly or disabled shopper.

Grocery stores may operate on a limited basis for essential employees reporting to or from duty and for people with emergency needs only. 

  • Operating hours shall be between 7:00 A.M. MDT and 3:00 P.M. MDT only during curfew weekends.
  • No more than 10 customers at a time may be in a grocery store, and no more than one (1) person per family with exception of an accompanying caregiver as described above. 

Gas stations and grocery stores shall: 

  • Monitor customer entry to maintain occupancy limits.
  • Maintain Social Distancing Requirements
  • Regularly disinfect all high-touch surfaces and thoroughly clean retail store areas and employee work areas. 

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