CTWS Tribal Council was in session this morning (4/8/20) to discuss the COVID-19 Pandemic. Yesterday’s COVID-19 Community Update reported zero cases of Coronavirus in Warm Springs. It said 15 individuals have been tested with 12 of those tests returning as negative and 3 tests pending.
Based on data and modeling it is expected that Oregon health system resources will be at their peak use toward the end of April. But that is based on continued social distancing practices and diligence on the part of Oregonians in all COVID-19 prevention efforts and cautions.
Tribal Council has decided to extend the shutdown of Tribal Offices and administrative leave for Tribal Employees for another two weeks. The initial two week period was for March 30, 2020 – April 10, 2020. The addition of another two weeks of approved administrative leave means employees will return to work on Monday, April 27, 2020. Tribal Council will review updated information and recommendations the week prior to that date.
Essential Operations for the Tribal Government will continue as they have since March 30th.
There was discussion about the Tribes’ lack of a reserve revenue fund to provide a safety net for Tribal Operations so keeping an eye on revenue coming in to support the Tribal Government is critical at this time. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has already been a loss of Investment Income, and revenue contributed by Tribal Enterprises may potentially be below projections.
In other matters, Tribal Council approved CTWS inclusion with the other federally recognized Indian Tribes of Oregon, in a letter to the United States Secretary of the Treasury asking for “Equitable Allocation for Tribal Coronavirus Relief Funding” (the CARES Act.) Specifically the Oregon Tribes do not want funding allocated based on Tribal Population alone and they assert that the Treasury should interpret “Necessary Expenditures” Broadly.
Additional decisions Tribal Council made today were:
- Food Stand licenses will not be suspended
- A burn ban will not be implemented at this time
- There will not be any evictions due to lack of payment, however there is no rent/payment forgiveness being given
- There will not be a rule enforcing community members to wear a mask in public
- Tribal Council members, not employed, will receive pay during the additional 2 week shut down period
There was discussion on:
- Local road closures and Warm Springs Police Department’s increased patrolling of those roads
- The existing youth curfew law which is 8pm – 6am on school days, 10pm – 6am on weekend
- The emergency hunting request process that is already in place. It was mentioned that the freezer inventory should be checked
- Hot spots for students at the Agency and Simnasho Longhouses, the Seekseequa and Sidwalter Fire Halls. Individuals need to call Warm Springs Telecom to get the Wi-Fi password to connect
- Online schooling and the lack of devices and/or connectivity for many Warm Springs families
- Clarification that no CTWS employee can be forced to take PTO if they are on admin leave