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Pascua Yaqui Tribe issues coronavirus curfew, 'Stay at Home' order

Residents of the Pascua Yaqui Reservation have been ordered to remain at home, with a nighttime curfew in effect and people only allowed out during the day to work in essential services, or for medical treatment, food or safety reasons.

The curfew is in effect from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., ordered tribal Chairman Robert Valencia, who said "it really hurts to make these decisions."

Two members of the Native American tribe who live off the reservation have died from COVID-19, Pascua Yaqui officials said. Several reservation residents have been "identified as having tested positive," Valencia said Friday.

All parks and non-essential public gathering places are closed, including cultural and church grounds, Valencia ordered Friday.

Gatherings are barred, including in private homes, he ordered.

"We're trying to do everything we can to make sure people are at home, staying at home, safe," he said.

The Pascua Yaqui are known for their Easter ceremonies, which normally continue throughout the Lenten season, and have now been curtailed under Valencia's order. No visitors will be allowed to attend.

Exceptions to the "Stay at Home" order include working or volunteering for essential government functions identified by the tribe, or to work off-reservation in accordance with executive orders by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.

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Tribal members can also exercise outdoors during the day, if they practice social distancing while walking, hiking, biking or running, Valencia ordered.

About 4,000 people live on the tribe's reservation, with about 20,000 enrolled members overall.

Pascua Yaqui communities include New Pascua (the reservation southwest of Tucson), Old Pascua (near Grant Road and Interstate 10), Barrio Libre (South Tucson), near Marana, and Guadalupe, southeast of Phoenix.

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Pascua Yaqui Chairman Robert Valencia delivers a video announcement Friday.