By the CUJ
MISSION – The Board of Trustees (BOT) at its meeting Monday, April 27 extended stay-at-home orders through June 1 – unless public health conditions for COVID-19 are achieved sooner – for residents of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
In addition to the public health requirement, the BOT resolution said the stay-at-home orders could only be relaxed earlier than June 1 if conditions are consistent with a “Reopening the Tribes Report,” which was developed by a committee appointed by the CTUIR’s COVID-19 Incident Command.
The Reopening the Tribes Committee is scheduled to meet with the BOT May 4 to propose a framework to guide a phased-in resumption of social and business operations.
The stay-at-home orders apply to CTUIR entities, including Wildhorse Resort & Casino.
“The coronavirus is especially dangerous for high risk populations so we must remain vigilant to protect our Tribal community,” BOT Chair Kat Brigham said in an official CTUIR news release.
Brigham noted that many Tribal members, and particularly elders, are at high risk because of underlying healthy conditions like diabetes, lung or heart disease. Cases continue to grow in Umatilla County and there are more than 500 cases in the Tribes’ surrounding ceded lands.
“We want to encourage everyone to continue to stay home as much as possible,” Brigham said in the news release. “We know it’s a sacrifice. But your efforts are working. Don’t let up now.”
The BOT’s April 27 resolution extended the use of Administrative Leave for Nixyaawii Governance Center employees through May 18 “only as approved” by their supervisors based on either their status as a vulnerable or high-risk employee, or that the employee is unable to work because of the stay-at-home order.
During the April 27 meeting, there was discussion about whether or not it is permissible to use grants or federal funds to pay for extended administrative leave for employees.
The Board of Trustees issued a resolution on March 23 to put in place stay-at-home orders for the Umatilla Indian Reservation and its entities through April 28. That order was recommended by the operational professionals of the Tribal Government, Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center, Wildhorse Resort & Casino, and Cayuse Holdings, and was consistent with the directives of the Incident Command, Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center and Oregon Health Authority, and the Executive Order issued by the State of Oregon.