WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — With the continued spread of COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation, on Friday the Navajo Department of Health issued an order requiring all individuals on the Navajo Nation to wear protective masks in public to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19. 

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez encourages Navajo citizens to either purchase or make masks to comply with the order. 

“Even before the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially recommended using masks in public, we were encouraging our Navajo people to wear masks and gloves and now we’re putting it in writing. Some may not like it, but with the number of positive COVID-19 cases increasing, we have to be proactive in addressing the pandemic,” Nez said in a statement.  

“We will continue to consider even more aggressive requirements to help bring the numbers down. Some individuals think we’re using scare tactics or extreme measures, but we are losing lives here on the Navajo Nation and I’m going to do everything I can to help save lives. We are on a mission to flatten the curve,” Nez said.  

The Public Health Emergency Order defines a mask as a covering designed to filter one’s breathing through both the nose and mouth. A mask must snugly cover the face around the nose and mouth to prevent the wearer from breathing unfiltered air. For purposes of the order, protective masks be a commercially made face mask, or a homemade cloth face covering.

The Navajo Nation’s 57-hour weekend curfew is currently in effect until Monday, April 20 at 5:00 a.m. (MDT). The Navajo Police Department is enforcing the weekend curfew with road checkpoints. They will also issue citations for curfew violators, which may include up to $1,000 in fines and/or 30 days in jail. 

The requirement for wearing a mask in public will remain in effect until otherwise ended by a subsequent Public Health Emergency Order. For more information about protective masks, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.

Support Independent Indigenous Journalism

Native News Online is an independent, Indigenous-led newsroom with a crucial mission:  We want to change the narrative about Indian Country. We do this by producing intelligent, fact-based journalism that tells the full story from all corners of Indian Country.  We pride ourselves on covering the tribes you may have never heard of before and by respecting and listening to the communities we serve through our reporting. As newsrooms across the country continue to shrink, coverage of Indian Country is more important than ever, and we are committed to filling this ever-present hole in journalism.

Because we believe everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities, the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. But we hope it inspires you to make a gift to Native News Online so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount, big or small, gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. 
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online Staff