San Carlos Apache Tribe restricts children from stores, requires commuters to self-identify during pandemic

SAN CARLOS – The San Carlos Apache Tribe continues to take an aggressive stance when it comes to keeping COVID-19 from infecting tribal members.

The latest moves by the Tribal Council include ordering the dialysis provider to the tribe to only treat tribal members on the reservation; all non-tribal patients or those coming from off the reservation are to be treated at non-reservation facilities.

Retail stores must observe social distancing regulations, regularly clean and sanitize all surfaces and no one under 13 may enter the stores.

The council has also banned all recreation activities, as well as limited groups to no more than 10 people, which will impact Easter celebrations this weekend.

“We realize not being able to gather with families during Easter is not what you had planned. But, we must take extra caution as April is predicted to be the worst month,” said San Carlos Apache Tribal Chairman Terry Rambler. “We have to get through April together. Even the country of Israel mandated curfew hours during its Passover holiday. This Easter, let’s all pray at home to our creator God and thank him for our lives, ask for forgiveness and to watch over us during this pandemic.”

Finally, in keeping with state guidelines calling for those entering the state, as well as those leaving one of the state’s COVID-19 hotspots – to self-identify for testing and/or isolation, the tribe is requiring any commuters to the reservation to contact the tribe’s Public Health Nursing Department.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, there have been 2,726 positive cases of COVID-19 in the state, with two in Graham County and three in Gila County, the two counties in which the San Carlos Apache Reservation sits.

To date there have been no tribal members who have tested positive for coronavirus.