Navajo Nation extends curfew, weekend lockdown to ensure continued decrease in COVID cases

The number of reported COVID-19 cases in the Navajo Nation continue to decline, prompting an August 6 update to curfew hours from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. and a partial weekend lockdown for the remaining four weekends in August, which started August 8.

The previous curfew hours as of June 30 were 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. with a 57-hour weekend lockdown curfew.

 

 

This updated curfew is a decrease from a previous curfew enacted in June after COVID-19 cases were continuing to increase in areas surrounding  the Navajo Nation.

The Navajo Department of Health released a public health emergency order detailing the updated curfew and weekend lockdown orders after health department offices in neighboring states showed a downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases and hospitalization over the previous seven days.

Similarly, the public health order states that Navajo Nation’s positive COVID-19 cases are less than 10% and hospitalization is under the 80% threshold.

“However,” the public health order reads in part, “continued vigilance to avoid a rebound in new cases will require lifting curfews hours cautiously.”

Because of advice given by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Navajo Department of Health issued the updated curfew to encourage continued social distancing to prevent COVID-19 cases and allow for a safe re-opening.

According to a July 23 article in Newsweek, both Delaware and Arizona have seen COVID-19 cases decrease while every other state has seen increases.

The Navajo Nation response has been successful because of their consistent adjustments to curfew hours and social distancing methods since the original COVID-19 outbreak in early March 2020.

According to the public health notice, the seven days a week, 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. curfew applies to all individuals within Navajo Nation.

Essential businesses are also encouraged to limit their hours of operations before 6:00 a.m. and after 8:00 p.m. to encourage people to follow the recommended curfew hours.

However, this daily curfew does not apply to essential businesses that do not directly serve customers.

“The daily curfew does not apply to Essential Employees reporting to or from duty,” the order reads in part, “An Essential Employee must carry official identification or a letter of designation from their essential business or essential government activity employer on official letterhead, naming a point of contact with contact information for verification.”

All individuals in the Navajo Nation are expected to comply with the partial weekend lockdown on the weekends of August 15, August 22, and August 29.

The cultivation of food and tending to livestock is still permitted, however individuals are encouraged to purchase necessary items, such as hay, beforehand.

“Individuals are not required to remain indoors during weekend lockdown,” the order reads. “Outdoor activity is encouraged and individuals may leave their immediate residence or home site area for exercise such as running or hiking, so long as movement is restricted to no more than five miles from one’s home.”

Essential businesses are to remain closed during the weekend lockdown, including gas stations, all stores, restaurants and drive-throughs.

During non-lockdown hours these businesses are allowed to operate, however, they must operate on a curb-side or drive-up basis as much as possible.

This lockdown does not apply to health care operations, essential government functions, or infrastructure functions, the order reads in part.

More information can be found on the Navajo Nation’s website here.