As Cases Rise, Navajo Nation Plans More COVID-19 Restrictions
The Navajo Nation plans to reinstate stricter COVID-19 restrictions as cases on the reservation rise.
The reservation has been operating at "Yellow" status in its business guidelines. It will return to the more restrictive "Orange" status on Monday. Under the new emergency order, most businesses may continue to operate at 50% capacity, but schools will be encouraged to return to virtual learning and social gatherings will be limited to 15 people.
“It’s not time for us to stop following these protocols. All around us you have states, communities that are seeing a big increase in cases,” Navajo Nation president Jonathan Nez said in a Tuesday town hall video.
The Navajo Nation significantly decreased the spread of the virus on the reservation this spring through curfews, business restrictions and an aggressive vaccination campaign. By June and July, the tribe was reporting just four or five new infections a day. Recently, it's been averaging more than 30 per day. Nez attributes the spike to the highly infectious delta variant driving surges across the country.
“The contact tracers are saying that people are going off the Nation, letting their guard down, and then coming back with the virus," Nez said.
This story has been updated with details about the emergency order.