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By Tim Leeds 

Fort Belknap extends shutdown order

Rocky Boy, Hill County restrictions still in effect


Last updated 12/1/2020 at 12:46pm

The Fort Belknap Indian Reservation tribal government announced Monday it is extending its reservation-wide shutdown, effective from 12:01 this morning through at least Monday, Dec. 14 at 12:59 p.m.

The Fort Belknap Indian Community Council said in a statement that the order was based upon the recommendation of the Fort Belknap Indian Community Incident Command Team.

“The FBIC Council thanks everyone for your cooperation in trying to keep the spread and effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus at a minimum,” the release said. “Stay safe.”

Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation also continues under restrictions, with the Chippewa Cree Business Committee Oct. 12 continuing with a stay-at-home order and emergency curfew mandate, including requiring wearing a mask in public and only leaving home for essential purposes.

That order was set to run indefinitely until rescinded by the Business Committee.

The beginning of November, Hill County Health Officer Kim Larson implemented increased restrictions in Hill County, including limiting public gatherings to no more than 25 people regardless of the feasibility of social distancing and requiring all restaurants, food courts, cafes, bars, pubs, taverns, breweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, clubs, and casinos to close for inside business by 12:30 a.m. and reduce operations to a maximum of 50 percent capacity.

Gov. Steve Bullock also implemented new statewide restrictions that went into effect Nov. 20, similar to the Hill County restrictions in most respects but also requiring restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and casinos close no later than 10 p.m. with tables limited to six people and establishments are still required to maintain social distancing

The state and local authorities had seen a drop in cases over the weekend, with some authorities saying that could be due to the Thanksgiving holiday slowing testing and return of results but that the numbers could go back up, possibly significantly.

Nationwide, public and health authorities have warned that gatherings during the holiday could result in a massive surge in new cases if people are not careful and don’t follow recommendations like washing regularly, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, staying home as much as possible and wearing cloth masks when out in public.

The Fort Belknap release said store hours on the reservation have been extended to 8 p.m. and the alcohol ban has been lifted until further notice.

All activities must have a safety plan submitted to incident command at least seven days before the event and all events are subject to council approval. the release said.

The release said all other provisions regarding curfew restrictions, mask mandates, social distancing, travel restrictions and quarantine and isolation restrictions remain in effect.


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