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Posted: August 13, 2021
Wind River Reservation

Rock carvings on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, home to the Eastern Shoshone Tribe and the Northern Arapaho Tribe. Photo: Angela Burgess / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

For Immediate Release

August 13, 2021

Wind River Inter-Tribal Council approves added public health measures to protect Members from COVID-19

Order includes mask requirements, capacity limit and vaccine mandate for those who work with children

On Thursday, the Wind River Inter-Tribal Council – comprised of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho business councils – voted to enact additional safety measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect Tribal Members.

The action comes as a highly-contagious “delta” variant has become prevalent in Wyoming and on the Wind River Reservation, leading to a significant spike in case numbers and hospitalizations. Most new cases, and nearly all hospitalizations and deaths, are occurring among individuals who are not fully vaccinated.

“This virus has taken an awful toll on the Wind River Reservation – we don’t want to lose anyone else,” said NABC Chairman Jordan Dresser. “If you haven’t gotten vaccinated, now is the time. If you’re in public and around other people outside your household, please wear a mask. By following these simple, proven steps we can slow the spread of this virus and save lives.”

After careful deliberation, and in consultation with Tribal healthcare authorities, the Inter-Tribal Council approved an order that:

  • Requires all individuals within the boundaries of the Wind River Reservation to wear a mask or facial covering whenever they are indoors in a public or communal space, including Tribal schools, as well as at outdoor gatherings. Exemptions were made for workplaces where individuals are in private offices with the door closed, along with restaurants when people are eating or drinking.
  • Reduces to 25% the capacity limit at all buildings, unless Tribal health authorities have approved a health & safety plan allowing for a larger capacity. The order enables any restaurant, casino, hall, gymnasium, childcare facility, school and educational institution, or non-essential Tribal program that had not already re-opened to operate at 25% capacity. With approval of Tribal health authorities, exemptions to the capacity limit may be granted for funerals, traditional ceremonies, meetings of the General Council, worship services and similar special events.
  • Mandates a vaccine for all individuals who work on the Wind River Reservation with minors under the age of 18, including employees of all schools (Tribal or non-Tribal), childcare facilities and more. Affected workers must provide proof of vaccination to their employer. At its sole discretion, the Inter-Tribal Council may grant an exemption for individuals who can prove they are medically unable to be vaccinated.
  • Requires that Tribal schools operating within the Wind River Reservation offer students a virtual learning option for parents who would prefer an alternative to in-person instruction. No student may be penalized based on their choice of instruction.

The public health order is effective immediately and will remain in place until further notice.

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