Tourist sites on Navajo Nation to remain closed through 2020

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Signs reminding residents and visitors that masks are required are posted throughout Navajo Mountain, Aug. 25, 2020.

Window Rock, Ariz. • Tourist sites on the Navajo Nation, including the Four Corners Monument, will be closed through at least the rest of the year.

The Navajo Parks and Recreation Department cited a rise in coronavirus cases on the reservation and a tribal public health order in making the announcement. It said it will reassess in January.

The closure extends to rivers, trails, canyons and roads that lead to tribal parks at Lake Powell, the Little Colorado River, Antelope Canyon and Window Rock, for example.

The National Park Service separately oversees popular spots like Canyon de Chelly National Monument and the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site. But the agency said it will operate in line with the Navajo Nation’s orders.

The tribe reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and no additional deaths, bringing the total number of cases to 10,454 since the pandemic began. The number of known deaths remained at 559.

A shelter-in-place order, mask mandate, daily curfews and weekend lockdowns remain in effect on the vast reservation that stretches into New Mexico, Utah and Arizona.

Most people experience mild or moderate symptoms with the coronavirus, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.