Navajo Nation president reminds visitors of mask mandate

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WINDOW ROCK, N.M. – New Mexico is the latest to lift the mask mandate. But with the Navajo Nation covering parts of the state, KOB 4 explored why is their mask mandate is still in effect.

COVID-19 case counts continue to fluctuate on the Navajo Nation.

“We just recently had a big surge, just like the rest of this country. But our high vaccination rate has helped push back on COVID-19,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

Even so, tribal leaders say it’s still not time to ditch the mask. The Navajo Nation covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. All have lifted their mask mandate at some capacity.

“It’s unfortunate that the state of New Mexico rescinded their mask mandate, we’re not out of this pandemic yet and it’s concerning that it’s being called an endemic now while you see fluctuation in COVID cases and these variants in our communities,” said Nez.

The mask mandate has taken effect on the Navajo Nation since April 2020 – when cases and deaths were very high. Now, people are still required to wear a mask in all public places within the Navajo Nation.

“But we continue to remind our visitors that there is a mandate, and we are a sovereign nation. We ask that everyone abide by our protocols on our lands,” Nez said.