CASS LAKE, MN- On March 26, 2020 the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Tribal Council made an emergency declaration requiring all reservation residents to shelter in place. The shelter in place order will take effect on Friday, March 27, 2020 at 11:59PM and remain in effect until April 10, 2020 at 11:59PM. This comes after Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued a similar order on March 25, 2020.
The temporary order directs all reservation residents to stay in their homes unless they are engaged in outdoor activities, employed in a critical or essential service or program, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, such as going to the hospital, pharmacy or grocery store.
Individuals should only leave their homes under very limited circumstances and when doing so, must adhere to social distancing measures approved by the CDC, including remaining at least six feet from others.
“Taking aggressive actions such as this, is necessary for the protection of our community” said Chairman Faron Jackson Sr., “While we know that we cannot stop COVID-19 from reaching our community, we are doing our best to slow and limit the spread of the virus. We are calling on our community to do their part and follow our guidance in order to protect their families, friends and neighbors. I know that this will be very hard, but just remember that this is temporary. This too shall pass. By coming together and doing our part we can save lives.”
The tribal order prohibits all businesses and operations from requiring workers to leave their homes, unless those workers are necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations.
Additionally, all in-person gatherings of any number are prohibited except for members of a single household; and, limits travel to the minimum necessary to gather essential household and medical supplies or treatment or to commute to work if in-person work is necessary; and all commercial and government activities, except those necessary to sustain or protect life, of the Leech Lake Band are closed to the public.
The resolution also extends the duration of closure for non-essential LLBO government and commercial operations through May 1, 2020.
People may leave the house to perform for limited, necessary purposes, and may engage in outdoor activities like walking, hiking, running, hunting, fishing, or any other recreational activity, consistent with remaining at least six feet from people from outside a person’s household.
Both the Executive Order issued by Governor Walz and the resolution enacted by the Band contain penalties for willful violations. This means that individuals who knowingly disregard the Executive Order or Tribal Resolution or who act with objective recklessness during the stay at home period will be subject to these penalties.
The intent of both the Executive Order and the Tribal Resolution is to protect the public’s health and welfare, not to issue these penalties. Please abide by the order and the resolution accordingly.