FT. APACHE INDIAN RESERVATION, — White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT) Chairwoman Gwendena Lee-Gatewood issued a press release Tues., June 22, “in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases.” She explained that the Tribe is taking “wide-scale action” in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 on the Ft. Apache Reservation.
As of Thursday, June 25, the number of positive cases on WMAT was reported at 1,496 with 18 coronavirus deaths. The rural and, in some cases remote area, has struggled with minimizing the spread of the virus. The infection rate is several times the state average.
Masks or face coverings are required at all times when in public. Public gatherings, funeral and burial services, religious gatherings are prohibited and the Tribe’s forests are closed to recreational activities.
The press release implements a 57-Hour Lockdown which begins this Friday, June 26 at 8 p.m. — June 29 at 5 a.m. A 2-week Shelter-in-Place order will follow the lockdown and incorporates “extended closure” of non essential Tribal offices.
The Hon-Dah Hotel will be utilized as an isolation and quarantine site for Tribal members who test positive for COVID-19. Funds have been allocated to purchase 300-400 additional test kits.
The sale and use of alcohol is banned on the Reservation for the rest of the year, with “strict penalties” in place for violating the order.
Additionally, the sale or use of illegal drugs is prohibited and will also result in penalties and fines up to $5,000 as well as the possible loss of Tribal membership benefits for one year. Benefits include hunting, fishing, wood cutting and housing.
Note: The press release can be viewed, in its entirety, at www.wmicentral.com or on the Facebook page “Chairwoman Gwendena Lee — Gatewood.”