Navajo Nation easing some COVID-19 restrictions

Coronavirus New Mexico

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday no additional deaths. The sprawling reservation that stretches into New Mexico, Arizona and Utah has seen 30,959 known cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began and 1,343 deaths.

The Navajo Department of Health on Friday lifted the nation’s stay-at-home order, easing restrictions to allow in-person meetings and ceremonies of 25 people or fewer and drive-thru gatherings of up to 100 vehicles. Face masks are required by everyone, whether or not they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer on Friday vetoed a resolution to reopen parks on the nation, including parks that encompass Monument Valley and Antelope Canyon, to 100% capacity.

Nez and Lizer said in a letter to the Navajo Nation Council that the nation needs to be careful with variants of the disease still circulating. They said that rather than opening the parks to full capacity, opening to 50% capacity would allow officials to monitor the impacts of reopening and gradually increase capacity from there.

Nex and Lizer requested that the council hold a special session to repeal a March 2020 order closing roads to visitors and free the health department to issue a new order.

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