Montana Governor to re-open the state, Fort Peck Tribes to remain on lock down

By Louis Montclair – Tribal Times

After a month of quarantine, state officials announced the stay at home order is to be lifted and schools reopened.

However, the Tribes are sticking with quarantine and lock down. A memo from Chairman Floyd Azure states.

Governor Steve Bullock issued a statement to reporters at the State Capital last week in Helena, saying the schools and government operations will resume. The stay-at-home order the state issued will be lifted and people will be encouraged to return to work, albeit people must be cautious when exposed to the public.

But on Fort Peck, things are not relaxed just yet.

Because so many people in the region have been affected by drug and alcohol abuse, an outbreak on the reservation would be devastating.

“All Fort Peck Tribal Resolutions and Tribal Health orders governing the Fort Peck Indian Reservation containing restrictions in response to COVID-19 remain in effect,” Azure stated.

The governors new directive does not change things on the reservation and the Tribes will continue to remain operational by appointment only.

The Tribes are planning a re-opening of the reservation around May 22, 2020. But this could change depending on the community and severity of the disease.

Because a large number of people on the reservation remain vulnerable to death from COVID-19, social distancing must be kept in place and the Tribes stay-at-home order is part of the solution. A curfew has also been put in place, making it illegal to be outdoors from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

“Everyone living on the reservation has a civic duty to their neighbors to do everything possible for the safety and health of the community,” Azure stated.

At the time of the memo, April 24, 2020, there were seven cases of COVID-19 in Roosevelt County. Limited medical supplies make this a priority for people to maintain social distancing.

The orders issued by the Tribes put a curfew in place at 10 p.m., and until the COVID-19 pandemic is under control the Tribes will be working with a skeleton crew while keeping the tribal government going.

Tribal facilities are closed off to the public and nobody is being allowed in the tribal building without an appointment.

Tribal leaders have been meeting, though their meetings are not open to the public anymore.

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