Navajo Nation lifts daily curfew, reaffirms mask mandate over COVID-19

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

GALLUP — The daily curfew for residents on the Navajo Nation is ending, a decision the tribe's health department issued in a new public health emergency order.

The Navajo Department of Health will end the regulation at 5 a.m. on Aug. 6, coinciding with two new public health orders taking effect.

Residents have been under some form of curfew since March 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic first impacted the tribal land.

The health department also reaffirmed the mandate for those 2 years old and above to wear face masks in public, including at businesses and in schools, and for residents to stay safer at home as much as possible.

Visitors to Veterans Memorial Park in Window Rock, Arizona are reminded on Aug. 4, 2021 to wear face masks on the Navajo Nation.

Businesses on the tribal land remain under moderate to low restrictions for operating and supplying services to customers.

The health department issued both orders on Aug. 4, which reflect recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

The orders come as new COVID-19 infections on the tribal land have slightly increased in recent weeks.

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Health officials reported 34 new cases of the virus on Aug. 4. Since last March, there have been 31,486 people diagnosed with COVID-19.

There have been reported cases of virus variants on the Navajo Nation, including the Delta variant that health officials deemed as highly contagious and more transmissible.

Audience members wear face masks and social distance during a dedication ceremony on March 25, 2021 at the Cove Chapter house in Cove, Arizona.

"The data and reports from across the country indicate that the majority of new infections and deaths related to COVID-19 involve people who are not vaccinated," tribal President Jonathan Nez said in the press release that shared information about the orders.

He added, "you can still contract COVID-19 even after being fully vaccinated, but the vaccines are highly effective in pushing back on the symptoms and chances of death. We've come a long way in this fight against COVID-19, so please do everything you can to protect yourselves and others in order to prevent another large surge of new cases."

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Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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