The Southern Ute Tribal Council issued a stay-at-home order and closed the reservation’s borders Wednesday, exempting only essential travel and work.
As a sovereign nation, the tribe does not fall under Colorado’s stay-at-home order issued Wednesday. Tribal council authorized its mandatory social distancing order after declaring a state of emergency and a stay-at-home advisory in response to the increasing COVID-19 cases in La Plata County, according to the order.
“Experts anticipate that because of the contagiousness of the virus over the coming weeks and months, the tribe will continue to see cases of the virus spreading within the community,” according to the stay-at-home order.
The tribe has not reported any cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday afternoon, according to a Southern Ute news release. La Plata County reported four cases as of Wednesday.
For visitors, the reservation is closed. Visitors include members of the general public. Tribal government staff members, residents on tribal or trust land, and guests of tribal members are not considered visitors.
Visitors are not allowed to go onto the reservation unless they are passing through on a county, state or federal highway, or traveling under any of 14 essential purposes.
Most of the essential purposes pertain to emergency or medical care, essential government services, legal proceedings or necessary deliveries, such as water, food, medicine, oil or natural gas.
Within the reservation, the tribe restricted all public and private gatherings of five or more people.
Tribal members must stay in their homes and can leave only to perform any of 13 essential activities. Most of the essential activities include: necessary care for elders, dependents or other vulnerable people; to buy food, medicine or other essential household supplies; and to work, if considered an essential employee.
Tribal members can still take part in outdoor activities as long as social distancing is maintained. Group sports are not allowed.
More information can be found on the Southern Ute Indian Tribe website.