Menominee Tribe declares state of emergency

Precautionary measures put in place to address coronavirus
Tim Ryan

KESHENA — The Menominee Tribe Thursday declared a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus and implemented a number of precautionary measures to address the health crisis, including travel restrictions for tribal employees.

“We are really trying to be prepared,” Tribal Chairwoman Joan Delabreau said. “We don’t want people to be in panic mode. We are hoping we have achieved that success.”

Currently there are no known coronavirus cases on the reservation, but some of the travel restrictions affect tribal employees who reside in counties where there are confirmed cases.

As of Thursday, those included Fond du Lac, Waukesha, Dane and Pierce counties.

The tribe has also set up an incident command center at the tribal offices in Keshena.

Emergency Management Coordinator Ben Warrington called this “an evolving situation.”

He said there will be daily briefings from the tribe and meetings are ongoing with Menominee County, the school district and the casino.

Warrington laid out a series of emergency steps being taken, most of which will be in effect for 45 days. Those measures will be reviewed at the end of that 45-day period to determine whether they should be extended.

Steps taken effective Thursday by the tribe include:

• A ban on all off-reservation travel by tribal employees, except for exemptions on a case-by-case basis for individual departments.

• A 14-day prohibition on reporting to work for employees who reside in a county with a confirmed case of coronavirus.

• All non-medical related transportation services to “hot-spot” counties will be cancelled for 45 days.

• Tribal employees currently on tribal or personal travel to out-of-state hot-spots or out of the country for any reason must remain away from their workplace for 14 calendar days after their return.

• Employees who are sick or who have sick children should stay home from work.

• All tribally sponsored public events are cancelled, including pow-wows, sturgeon feast celebrations and other events.

• The fitness center, activity rooms, and workout areas of the Tribal Recreation Center will be closed for the next 45 days.

• Food service at elderly meal sites will convert to take-out only. Home delivered meals will continue.

• Other food service providers, including the Boys & Girls Club, Recreation Center and others are advised to discuss closure and/or other food delivery options with the public health officer.

• All facilities operated by the tribe that house individuals will be closed to visitors, including detention, CBRF, Maehnowesekiyah residential, Eagle’s Nest and domestic violence shelter.

• The Tribal Facilities staff will bring on emergency hires in housekeeping to continuously clean and disinfect the facilities they support and tribal facilities without their own housekeeping staff.

• All meetings of government elected officials, committees, and staff should be limited to 20 people or less. Non-essential meetings will be cancelled.

• All departmental meetings involving individuals from outside of the reservation boundaries should be conducted via conference call or Skype/video conferencing.

• Administrative Committee shall coordinate the identification of essential services in the event workforce is reduced due to illness or quarantines are required.

• Tribally operated schools, Head Starts and Day Care Centers shall develop plans for how take-out meals/bag lunches can be provided to school children in the event of school closures.