The Colorado River Indian Tribes are modifying their face mask requirements in regards to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses on Tribal land will no longer be required to have their patrons wear face masks.
The Tribes said the requirements are being modified to reflect varying COVID-19 transmission levels. The new requirements were included in a resolution passed by the Tribal Council June 9 by a vote of 5 to 0.
The Tribal Council’s action comes as media reports indicate the current variant of the virus, Omicron BA.2, does not appear to cause as severe illness as the earlier Delta variant. These reports also indicate that individuals who have had the original Omicron variant, BA.1, are far less likely to get the BA.2 variant.
In a statement on their Facebook page, the Tribes said transmission levels are low in La Paz County. As a result, all entities, including businesses and schools, located on the Colorado River Indian Reservation are no longer required to mandate face masks; but they still have the option to require masks for employees and patrons if they feel it necessary. For example, businesses and programs that work with seniors may wish to mandate masks and they are free to do so.
In addition, the statement said Tribal employees are still required to wear face masks while working regardless of the transmission status.
CRIT Chairwoman Amelia Flores said, “Progress has been made fighting the pandemic as evidenced by a lower transmission status in La Paz County, but we must still remain vigilant and be prepared in case conditions change.”
If the transmission status moves to High for La Paz County face masks shall be required indoors at all businesses, schools and other entities in accordance with Resolution 254-21.
The Tribes have not released a new report on case numbers since March 30. At that time, they reported 1,788 cases among Tribal members who tested at Indian Health Services. At the time, they were close to having 40 percent of all Tribal members having had the virus. A total of 26 Tribal members have died.
Pioneer reporter John Gutekunst contributed to this story.