WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation officials are extending partial weekend lockdowns and daily curfews through September to help control the spread of the coronavirus on the tribe's reservation.
The lockdowns on the vast reservation in the Four Corners region start at 9 p.m. Saturday and run until 5 a.m. Monday. They were shortened in August from previous versions that began on Fridays.
The current daily curfews run from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
On Wednesday, the tribe reported 17 new positive cases and one more death. The death toll stands at 504.
Residents still have time on Saturdays to prepare for the winter season by gathering firewood, food, water and other supplies, tribal President Jonathan Nez said in a statement.
However, Nez said the public should avoid traveling to nearby towns and cities on weekends. Travel increases the risk of contracting the virus and bringing it home, potentially exposing family members.
"With the Labor Day weekend approaching, we have to remain focused and be diligent to avoid another surge in new COVID-19 cases," Nez said. "Our health care system cannot handle another surge."
All businesses, including stores, gas stations, restaurants, drive-thru food establishments and hay vendors, are required to shut down during the lockdowns and curfew hours.