On Friday, November 13, Governor Kate Brown issued a new set of orders, freezing or limiting the conduct of many businesses and activities throughout the State. As a sovereign government, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) are not bound by these restrictions, but the CTUIR respects Governor Brown’s efforts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus and is choosing to implement its own set of new guidance for business and activities on the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
Some of the most noticeable of these guidelines, recommended by the Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center and adopted by the CTUIR Incident Command Team, include restricting restaurants to “take-out only” on the Umatilla Indian Reservation and the closure of the Wildhorse Cineplex, as well as Quaking Aspens Lanes and the Family Funplex arcade. These facilities will be closed beginning on Wednesday, November 18, with the closure extending for two weeks through Wednesday, December 2. The Incident Command Team is also requesting that individuals not travel outside of a 75 mile radius for non-essential travel and that those who do so quarantine for 14 days upon their return home. The full extent of the new guidelines issued by the Incident Command Team will be posted on the CTUIR’s official Facebook page as well as on the CTUIR COVID website.
These changes are necessary due to the alarming rate of increase in test positivity on the reservation between the last two weeks of October and the first two weeks of November. In first two weeks of November, Yellowhawk performed 110 tests and had roughly a positive test rate of 10%, as opposed to the last two weeks of October when over 250 tests were conducted with a positivity rate of 5%. Additionally, contact tracers have been facing difficulty in the last week determining the source of 75% of the positive cases, making it clear that there is uncontrolled community spread.
Board of Trustees Chair Kat Brigham once again acknowledged “this virus is causing hardship for many people, both in terms of employment and recreational opportunities, and the overall toll on mental health that results from increased isolation and reduction in social gatherings, but these restrictions are absolutely necessary.” Chair Brigham added “the virus remains highly communicable and appears to be spreading rapidly as people have gathered indoors more frequently with the cooler, stormy weather that fall is bringing. We need your help to contain it.”
The following Public Health Authority recommendations were made by YTHC and adopted by ICT to take effect November 18, unless otherwise noted:
All restaurants and bars within the CTUIR boundaries should provide take-out only. Chairs and tables should be removed in all public eating areas where practicable; where not practicable signage will be utilized.
Indoor recreational facilities, museums, and indoor entertainment will close. This means Tamastslikt will close, Wildhorse Cineplex will close, the bowling alley will close, and the Arcade will close.
By next Wednesday all CTUIR entities will review plans to restrict access to their buildings. All entities and departments should mandate that employees work from home when possible and close offices to the public unless they provide essential operations. It is recommended that this no longer be at the discretion of the department directors but that the ED’s define what is deemed essential.
Mission Market will go to drive-up service only and Arrowhead will limit capacity to 75%.
Visits at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities on the UIR will be prohibited.
Social gatherings, whether indoors or out, will be limited to no more than six people from two households. A public relations educational campaign will be launched for this. WRC Hotel will be cognizant of its being a place of gathering when local reservations are made.
Worship services will be limited to 25 people when indoors and 50 people when outdoors. ICT has been notified that the Longhouse has already been cancelling services.
Travel will be restricted to a 75 mile radius. Those that travel outside of 75 miles will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return. Employees will need to telecommute or use appropriate leave as necessary; appropriate leave is up to the entities to determine.
There will be no change to K-12 schools, higher education, sports, Division 1athletics, and childcare services currently operating.
Hair salons, barber shops and massage parlors can all continue under their current operations.
Outdoor recreational facilities on the CTUIR such as the golf course may remain open, although they may want to limit the number of people golfing together.
WRC will present recommendations to the BOT on Monday, November 16 regarding casino operations.
Three new cases today. Ten new cases this week!
Here are today's cases date from within the CTUIR ceded territory. Starting November 18th, the CTUIR ICT is discouraging travel beyond a 75 miles radius of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.