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Colville Tribes enforcing public health rules

Public safety laws on the Colville Reservation will be strictly enforced during the current spike in COVID-19 cases, the Colville Tribes says, including with possible fines and jail time. 

“The Tribal Health Department is issuing specific orders to infected or exposed people,

which are intended to control the spread of the disease,” a Dec. 9 press release from the Colville Tribes says. “These orders may be for an individual to quarantine or isolate and avoid all contact with others. Any violation of a Tribal Health order is a criminal Class A violation of the Colville Tribal Criminal Code punishable by up to 360 days of jail or a $5,000 fine.”

Tribal Vice Chairman Joel Boyd said, “We are in the most serious period yet of the pandemic. The health orders are all based on medical advice and intended to protect the lives and health of everyone in our community. The Tribes will not allow anyone to break the law and put others at risk.”

The release said that all of the general public health restrictions in place since the beginning of the pandemic also continue to be strictly enforced and will remain in place until further notice. 

Those rules include that the reservation is closed to all non-essential traffic and visitors and that residents of the reservation are ordered to stay at home unless travel is essential. Public gatherings or camping in groups of 10 or more people is prohibited. All outdoor recreational activities are permitted only for tribal members and their immediate families who are residents of the Reservation. And all non- essential business activity on the reservation is prohibited. Civil citations can range from a warning to a $1,000 fine, or a $2,000 fine for a second

offense within five years.

A curfew imposed in the Inchelium District from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. due to the extreme spike of cases there also remains active. All residents and visitors within Inchelium must remain indoors unless travel is absolutely essential.

The Tribes said that “known or suspected violations” of quarantine and isolation orders or of public health orders may be reported to the Colville Tribal Police at (800)-551-5800, day or night.

Despite the order, reservation casinos, including the Coulee Dam Casino and its restaurant and lounge, remain open. 

The Star did not receive a response from the Tribes prior to deadline as to why casinos are considered essential.


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