Navajo Nation to reopen to visitors; mask mandate remains
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Navajo Nation roads are now open to visitors and tourists, tribal parks will open at 50 percent capacity as early as July 8 and in-person school instruction is now an option after Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez signed a resolution July 6 rescinding previous COVID-19 restrictions.
The mask mandate remains in effect for the entire Navajo Nation.
“Today’s signing of this resolution signifies the strength and resilience of the Navajo people throughout this COVID-19 pandemic,” Nez said. “Our gating measures and data show a consistent downward trend in new cases and deaths related to COVID-19, and we have a large majority of our Navajo Nation residents fully vaccinated.”
Nez said the Nation will continue to meet with health experts on a regular basis as the Nation reopens and stated the Navajo Department of Health plans to issue a new public health order July 7, outlining safety protocols and requirements for reopening.
“We respectfully ask all visitors and tourists to cooperate with our businesses by adhering to all COVID-19 safety protocols, which includes wearing a mask at all times in public,” Nez said. “We’ve experienced unprecedented challenges and hardship over the last year and a half, but we are emerging stronger than ever from the pandemic.”
Nez was joined by Vice President Myron Lizer along with Navajo business owners, members of the 24th Navajo Nation Council, Miss Navajo Nation Shaandiin Parrish and Division Directors at the Navajo Veterans Memorial Park for the signing.
The resolution, sponsored by Council Delegate Carl Slater, was approved by the 24th Navajo Nation Council June 25. It rescinds a total of eight resolutions that were put in place during the height of the pandemic.
Under the new resolution, chapter meeting quorum requirements can also returned to normal.
In accordance with the resolution, Navajo Nation chapters will have 90 days to return to the minimum of 25-person meeting quorum requirement, unless otherwise authorized noted, and may use telephonic or other electronic means to meet quorum requirements. Chapters must comply with all Public Health Emergency Orders issued by the Navajo Department of Health including the wearing of masks during meetings.
“It’s a great day for the Navajo Nation and for our Navajo business owners,” Lizer said. “The Navajo Nation faced COVID-19 challenges that not only harmed our public health, but also the economy of small and developing businesses.”
Council Delegates Paul Begay and Herman Daniels, Jr. were accompanied by Navajo tour company owners at the signing who were there to show their support for the reopening of businesses. Both lawmakers represent several communities that rely heavily on tourism for economic support and financial support for Navajo families.
“The Navajo Nation is back in business,” Begay exclaimed.
A return to in-person school
Schools on the Navajo Nation will be allowed to reopen for in-person instruction for students, in accordance with a safety plan that is required to be submitted to the Department of Diné Education.
The Department of Diné Education recently hosted a parent/guardian forum to discuss K-12 education on the Navajo Nation amidst COVID-19.
The Office of the President and Vice President will provide more information once the Navajo Department of Health finalizes a new public health emergency order. The Nez-Lizer Administration will also host an online town hall July 7 at 10 a.m. (MDT) on the Nez-Lizer Facebook page and YouTube channel to provide more information.