November 23, 2020

November 23, 2020

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Dear Tribal Members, Reservation Residents and Tribal Employees,

I am sure you’ve heard that Governor Inslee has announced new restrictions across Washington to help slow the spread of COVID-19. What does that mean for Swinomish? The Senate has been working with our Swinomish Public Health Team to answer this question and to keep our Reservation community safe and health.

The COVID-19 Resolutions adopted by the Senate last summer are still in place today, and the existing Swinomish guidance is similar to the Governor’s current restrictions:

Social Gatherings: Indoor and outdoor gathering with people outside your household have been and will continue to be discouraged.

Retail Stores: The Senate has reduced retail capacity limits in the COVID-19 Requirements from 30% to 25% in light of increasing infection rates. Face coverings remain mandatory in retail stores.

Real Estate: No open houses are permitted on the reservation.

Religious Services: Churches are working in collaboration with Swinomish Public Health on safety plans that include 25% capacity limits. Group singing indoors is discouraged.

Professional Services: Work from home is encouraged for all Tribal employees when possible.

There are some areas in which the Senate has decided on guidance that is different from Governor Inslee and that is tailored to the Swinomish Reservation:

Weddings/Funerals: Swinomish will not be mandating a 30-person limit on weddings and funerals, as the State has done. Instead, it is recommended that families work together with Swinomish Public Health to make plans for these events to assure safety for all.

Gyms/Fitness Centers: Swinomish Fitness Center will remain open to Tribal Members at very limited capacity, by appointment only. Outdoor ventilation and intensive cleaning will continue.

Miscellaneous Venues/Indoor Dining: Swinomish Casino is designated as an essential business and will remain open. We have implemented policies to maintain the safest environment we can for patrons and staff such as no smoking (temporary), 500 person capacity limit for the property, 50% capacity limit for dining, face coverings required, temperature screening, and staff COVID-19 testing required every 14 days.

We have worked hard over the past several months to keep COVID-19 out of our community. We can be very thankful that we have cared for and protected each other so well during this pandemic. But to keep that good record for our community, when making plans for the upcoming holidays we urge you not to gather with people outside your house and not to travel. With rising cases everywhere, we cannot let our guard down. I know it is not easy for any of us, especially in the holidays, but it is more important than ever that every one of us follow Public Health recommendations to keep each other safe and healthy.

This holiday week, let’s all remember the Swinomish Public Health guidance and avoid the three C’s:

  1. Crowded places with many people nearby
  2. Close contact settings especially where people have close-range conversations
  3. Confined and enclosed spaces.

As Public Health has taught us, the risk is even higher in places where 2 or 3 of C’s exist.

Steve Edwards, Chairman

November 23, 2020