The Colorado River Indian Tribes have issued a statement reminding everyone their face mask requirements and limits on gatherings on Tribal lands are still in place. A reservation-wide requirement to wear face masks in public places on Tribal land in still in effect.
In a statement published on CRIT’s Manataba Messenger Facebook page, the Tribes’ said Gov. Doug Ducey’s easing of many of the coronavirus mitigation policies March 25 do not apply on tribal reservations. Tribal governments are considered sovereign and are under no obligation to follow the state orders on their lands.
“Face mask requirements as well as COVID-19 restrictions remain in place on CRIT Tribal Lands,” the statement said.
“The first duty of your government is the protection of life,” the statement said. “There is no higher duty than this, and without fundamental orders to protect it, we would be failing our number one basic obligation of public service.”
“This is a matter of public safety and Tribal sovereignty,” Tribal Chairwoman Amelia Flore said in statement. “Progress has been made fighting the pandemic as evidenced by CRIT’s recent decision to ease some but not all restrictions. That said, the Tribal Council firmly believes that this crisis is not over and that eliminating face mask requirements and removing limits on crowds is not in the best interest of CRIT and represents a threat to the health of the community.”
The statement said all businesses on Tribal land will be required to have staff and customers wear face masks. Businesses on Tribal land include Walmart, Safeway, Dollar General, CVS Pharmacy, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Subway, the two Running Man Fuels locations, and the BlueWater Resort & Casino. There are also some mobile home parks that are on Tribal land.
The only exceptions to the mask requirements will be children under the age of 2 and those who have disabilities or health conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask.
In addition, the Tribes’ “Safer at Home” resolution is still in effect limiting some business activities and gatherings.
The new Safer at Home resolution, No. 47-21, will remain in effect until at least April 30. The following are some of the provisions found in the resolution:
1) Seasonal residents who reside in any of the Mobile Home, RV Parks, housing developments, or have a homesite lease on the reservation shall be permitted to access their residences but only members of the immediate household of the lessee shall be permitted on-site.
2) There shall be no gatherings, public or private, of more than 10 individuals indoors or 25 individuals outdoors and social distancing and the use of face masks is required for all gatherings.
3) Bars, movies theaters, gyms, museums, stadium sport events, day camps (excluding child care) and concerts shall remain closed unless submission of a plan under subsection 8 approved by Tribal Council.
4) Indoor dining may be permitted at no more than 50 percent capacity and a plan must be submitted for Tribal Council approval detailing standards to maintain Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) and CRIT standards.
5) Churches shall remain closed unless they submit a plan for Tribal Council approval detailing standards to maintain CDC, OSHA and CRIT standards.
6) Schools shall only open for hybrid in-person/virtual learning provided all three benchmarks indicated by the Arizona Department of Health Services for moderate or minimal transmission are met for two weeks prior to beginning in-person learning and a plan is submitted to Tribal Council for approval detailing standards to maintain CDC, OSHA and CRIT standards.
7) Large venues, such as the Blue Water Resort and Casino shall remain closed unless they submit a plan for Tribal Council approval detailing standards to maintain CDC, OSHA and CRIT standards. (The BlueWater remains open as they have submitted such a plan).
8) All plans submitted for Tribal Council for approval to re-open shall detail infection prevention measures, including but not limited to the use of face masks, and engineering and administrative controls for social distancing and reduced occupancy requirements, sanitation policies and procedures, screening of staff and patrons for COVID-19 identification and isolation, contact tracing protocol for positive case exposures, and communications, training, and procedures for implementation in accordance with CDC, OSHA, and CRIT standards.
The resolution further states, “All CRIT Tribal Members and the reservation residents are still strongly advised to stay at home whenever possible to maintain the reduction in COVID-19 cases and protect the most vulnerable community members from COVID-19.
Go to the Manataba Messenger Facebook page for the text of this resolution.