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Mescalero Apache Tribe going on lockdown due to virus surge; Inn of the Mountain Gods to close

A roadblock set up by the Mescalero Apache Tribe when the reservation went on lockdown due to the coronavirus in May.
Mescalero Apache Tribe
A roadblock set up by the Mescalero Apache Tribe when the reservation went on lockdown due to the coronavirus in May.

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 (watch it in the video player above) 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 lockdown for two weeks beginning Friday at 5 p.m. (You can read the entire order by scrolling to the end of this article.)

"We have to do something to slow the virus down," Aquilar explained. "It is moving and it is running. We are going into a lockdown as a tribe."

If the order's not extended, it would come to an end on Aug. 7.

During the lockdown, 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 lockdown 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.

Article Topic Follows: New Mexico

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Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the former Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.


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