WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer were joined by Navajo business owners, members of the 24th Navajo Nation Council, Miss Navajo Nation Shaandiin Parrish, and Division Directors at Navajo Veterans Memorial Park on Tuesday, as they signed Resolution CJN-36-21 into law, which lifts several COVID-19 restrictions that will allow Navajo Nation parks to reopen at 50-percent capacity with safety protocols in place as early as Thursday, and also allow schools to eventually reopen under a required safety plan. The Navajo Department of Health will issue a new Public Health Emergency Order on Wednesday, outlining safety protocols and requirements for reopening. The mask mandate remains in effect for the entire Navajo Nation.
“Today’s signing of this resolution signifies the strength and resilience of the Navajo people throughout this COVID-19 pandemic. Our gating measures and data show a consistent downward trend in new cases and deaths related to COVID-19, and we have a large majority of our Navajo Nation residents fully vaccinated. We continue to meet with our health experts on a regular basis and they support the reopening of parks to our residents and our visitors. We respectfully ask all visitors and tourists to cooperate with our businesses by adhering to all COVID-19 safety protocols, which includes wearing a mask at all times in public. We’ve experienced unprecedented challenges and hardship over the last year and a half, but we are emerging stronger than ever from the pandemic. Continue to be strong and to take precautions to protect yourselves from COVID-19 and the variants,” said President Nez.
Resolution CJN-36-21, sponsored by Council Delegate Carl Slater, was approved by the 24th Navajo Nation Council on June 25, which rescinds a total of eight resolutions that were put in place during the height of the pandemic when the Navajo Nation was experiencing many new COVID-19 infections on a daily basis. The following resolutions were rescinded and are no longer in effect:
Chapters must comply with all Public Health Emergency Orders issued by the Navajo Department of Health including the wearing of masks during meetings.
“It’s a great day for the Navajo Nation and for our Navajo business owners! The Navajo Nation faced COVID-19 challenges that not only harmed our public health, but also the economy of small and developing businesses. Today’s approval to re-open is historical for our Navajo citizens. As we bounce back from temporary closures, we continue the legacy of Navajo resiliency. We give thanks to our Creator for blessing the Nation to recover from sickness, drought, and lack of opportunities, into economic prosperity. Just as we worked together during the height of the pandemic, we must continue to support one another and to protect one another as more businesses reopen to our residents and the many tourists who visit the beautiful Navajo Nation.
Our public health experts have given us the guidance and tools to protect ourselves against COVID-19, so personal responsibility is key to maintain the downward trend in new cases of COVID-19. We are overjoyed for our business owners and we are pleased to welcome our visitors as well. Buy Navajo, Buy Local!” said Vice President Lizer.
Council Delegates Paul Begay and Herman Daniels, Jr. accompanied Navajo tour company owners to show their support for the reopening of the businesses. Both lawmakers represent several communities that rely heavily on tourism for economic support and financial support for Navajo families. “The Navajo Nation is back in business!” exclaimed Delegate Paul Begay.
Schools on the Navajo Nation will be allowed to reopen for in-person instruction for students, in accordance with a safety plan that is required to be submitted to the Department of Diné Education. The Department of Diné Education recently hosted a parent/guardian forum to discuss K-12 education on the Navajo Nation amidst COVID-19.
The Office of the President and Vice President will provide more information once the Navajo Department of Health finalizes a new public health emergency order on Wednesday. The Nez-Lizer Administration will also host an online town hall on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. (MDT) on the Nez-Lizer Facebook page and YouTube channel to provide more information. Tuesday’s signing ceremony for Resolution CJN-36-21 was live-streamed on the Nez-Lizer Facebook page:
The Nez-Lizer Administration thanks Council Delegate Carl Slater for sponsoring the legislation and the 24th Navajo Nation Council for their support.