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The Southern Ute Indian Tribe in Southwest Colorado said it plans to leave its stay-at-home order in effect until further notice, despite Colorado easing its restrictions beginning Sunday.
Tribal officials said they have reviewed the state’s “safer-at-home” initiative and determined relaxing social-distancing practices is premature.
“It is our belief that this premature relaxation of standards poses a threat to the tribe that is unwarranted given local circumstances and the near total lack of evidence regarding the degree to which the disease has entered this community,” the tribe said in a news release Thursday.
The sovereign nation enacted its stay-at-home order on March 25.
The Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Permanent Fund, Growth Fund, Shared Services and Sky Ute Casino and Resort will continue to telework and modify programs and services to help protect the safety of tribal members, tribal employees and the community, the release said.
It is following recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which include restricting congregated groups of five people or more, and keeping people at least 6 feet apart.
The tribe also recommends the use of face coverings when leaving home for essential activities such as trips to the grocery store, visits to the doctor’s office or work as an essential employee
The Southern Ute Incident Management Team will to distribute face masks to tribal elders and the disabled/at-risk population of tribal members who live on the reservation.
Tribal services began distributing face masks Tuesday to elders and high-risk individuals who live on the reservation. The remaining masks will be held in reserve to ensure adequate supplies for health care professions and first responders.
For more information about masks, call the Southern Ute Tribal Health CHR Division at 563-0154 or 563-2348, or the Southern Ute Elders Services Division at 563-2323.
Tribal parks remain closed to gatherings of more than five people, but exercising is still encouraged while practicing social distancing.
“We would like to applaud the Southern Ute Indian tribal membership for adhering to the stay-at-home order, promoting social distancing, unity within our tribal community, supporting one another, sharing information and taking opportunities to create solutions that benefit the safety and wellness of the Southern Ute people and community,” the tribe wrote in its news release.