July 22, 2020 at 11:17 pm, Published July 22, 2020 at 8:34 pm
RUIDOSO, New Mexico — The Mescalero Apache Tribe announced Wednesday that it plans to go on lockdown, setting up roadblocks around the reservation and closing the Inn of the Mountain Gods casino, due to a surge in coronavirus cases.
Tribal President Gabe Aquilar and Emergency Manager Tyner Cervantes made the announcement in a video message where they said 14 new confirmed cases were reported Wednesday; the day before the tribe only had ten total.
“That is a lot of cases with different tribal members,” Aquilar said. He added that “not all the cases are from the casino, they are from different places.” Under an order Aquilar signed and posted to the tribe’s website, the reservation and the popular casino-resort will be on lock down for two weeks beginning Friday at 5:00 pm.
“We have to do something to slow the virus down,” Aquilar explained. “It is moving and it is running. We are going into a lock down as a tribe.” If the order’s not extended, it would come to an end on Aug. 7. During the lock down, no visitors are allowed on tribal land and those testing positive for the virus on the reservation will be isolated, according to the order. There are also limitations on when tribe members can go shopping for food or other essential items.
This will be the second lock down for the tribe during the pandemic; they also went into that mode in late May after a tribal member died from contracting the virus just days after the first case was reported on the reservation.