Navajo Nation to run partial weekend lockdown into September

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Signs all over the Navajo Nation encourage people to wash their hands, wear a mask, social distance and mind the curfew, June 22, 2020. More than one-third of Navajo Nation households lack running water. Families fill jugs at communal wells or buy bottled water from stores — both costly and time-consuming burdens that have become only more difficult during the pandemic and the tribe’s daily and weekend curfews.

Window Rock, Ariz. • Navajo Nation officials are extending partial weekend lockdowns and daily curfews through September to help control the spread of the coronavirus on the tribe’s reservation.

The lockdowns on the vast reservation in the Four Corners region start at 9 p.m. Saturday and run until 5 a.m. Monday. They were shortened in August from previous versions that began on Fridays.

The current daily curfews run from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

On Wednesday, the tribe reported 17 new positive cases and one more death. The death toll so far has been 504 people.

Residents still have time on Saturdays to prepare for the winter season by gathering firewood, food, water and other supplies, tribal President Jonathan Nez said in a statement.

However, Nez said the public should avoid traveling to nearby towns and cities on weekends. Travel increases the risk of contracting the virus and bringing it home, potentially exposing family members.

“With the Labor Day weekend approaching, we have to remain focused and be diligent to avoid another surge in new COVID-19 cases,” Nez said. “Our health care system cannot handle another surge.”

All businesses, including stores, gas stations, restaurants, drive-thru food establishments and hay vendors, are required to shut down during the lockdowns and curfew hours.

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