FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Amended Public Health Order (Regarding Face Coverings) of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe


Melvin J. Baker, Chairman – 970.563.0100

Lindsay J. Box, Communication – 970.563.2313






WHEREAS, authority is vested in the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council by the Constitution adopted by the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, and approved November 4, 1936, and amended October 1, 1975, and August 27, 1991, to act for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe; and


WHEREAS, under Article VII, Section 1 of the Constitution, “The inherent powers of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, including those set forth in [the Indian Reorganization Act], as amended, shall be exercised by the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council, subject only to limitations imposed by the Constitution and Statutes of the United States, by the regulations of the Department of the Interior and by this constitution.”; and


WHEREAS, under Article VII, Section 1(e) of the Constitution, “The [T]ribal [C]ouncil may enact ordinances and codes to protect the peace, safety, property, health and general welfare of the members of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe”; and


WHEREAS, under Article VII, Section 1(n) of the Constitution, Tribal Council has the authority, “To protect and preserve the property, wildlife and natural resources of the [T]ribe, and to regulate the conduct of trade and the use and disposition of tribal property upon the reservation.”; and


WHEREAS, in Res. No. 2004-225, the Tribe approved the Southern Ute Community Emergency Operations Plan (“Plan”), the purpose of which is to identify the emergency management process and principles for managing and coordinating the overall response and recovery activities during periods of emergency/disaster resulting from a natural-or human-caused hazard; and


WHEREAS, Section IV(B) of the Plan identifies Emergency Management operational phases, including the Response Phase, which may include incident mitigation activities designed to limit the loss of life, personal injury, property damage, and unfavorable outcomes; and


WHEREAS, pursuant to the Plan, Section IV(B)(3), response activities may include ongoing public health and testing processes, immunizations, isolation, or quarantine; and


WHEREAS, pursuant to the Plan, Section V(F), the Tribal Council’s duties in an emergency or disaster include, among other things, signing a resolution declaring an emergency or disaster to protect life and preserve property and the environment by ensuring prevention, preparation, and response measures are in place; and


WHEREAS, in January 2020, the World Health Organization designated the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as a pandemic; and


WHEREAS, in Res. No. 2020-025, Tribal Council declared a state of emergency to respond to the spread of COVID-19; and


WHEREAS, in Res. No. 2020-031, Tribal Council approved the Southern Ute Health Center Communicable Disease Response Plan, which allows for, among other things, infection control precautions, including contact, droplet, and airborne precautions; and


WHEREAS, on March 25, 2020, Tribal Council issued a Stay at Home Order limiting visitation to the Reservation and restricting activities to only those activities that were deemed to be essential; and


WHEREAS, on July 17, 2020, Tribal Council issued a Public Health Order requiring face coverings indoors at all times and outdoors when other social distancing measures were not possible; and


WHEREAS, on March 29, 2021, as COVID-19 cases began to level off and a coronavirus vaccine became more readily available in and around the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, Tribal Council issued a Safer at Home Order, which superseded the Stay at Home Order and eased previously established restrictions; and


WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) recently eased recommendations for when face coverings should be worn; and


WHEREAS, the Tribal Council finds it in the interests of public health and safety to continue to require face coverings indoors unless a person is alone; and


WHEREAS, as the number of vaccinated people nationwide has grown and the risk of COVID-19 transmission has therefore decreased, and research shows that COVID-19 is less transmissible in well ventilated outdoor spaces when compared to indoor spaces, Tribal Council finds it is no longer necessary to require people to wear face coverings while outdoors.




  1. All individuals over two years old must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when entering or moving within any public indoor space, unless the individual is alone in the room.
  2. Face covering means a covering made of cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material, without holes, that covers only the nose and mouth and surrounding areas of the lower face, and that fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face and remains in place without the use of one’s hands. Face coverings include, but are not limited to, bandanas, medical masks, cloth masks, buffs, and gaiters. Businesses have the discretion to have more restrictive face covering protocols. Face coverings do not include any mask that incorporates a one-way valve (typically a raised plastic cylinder about the size of a quarter on the front or side of the mask) that is designed to facilitate easy exhaling, and such masks are not to be used to comply with this Order. Valves of that type without filters permit droplet release from the mask and can put others nearby at risk.
  3. Public indoor space means any enclosed indoor area that is public or privately owned, managed, or operated to which individuals have access by right or by invitation, expressed or implied, and that is accessible to the public, serves as a place of employment, or is an entity providing services. Public indoor space does not mean a person’s residence, including a room in a motel or hotel.
  4. No owner, operator, or manager of a public indoor space may provide services to individuals or allow an individual to enter or move within that public indoor space, unless the individual is wearing a face covering as required by this Public Health Order.
  5. Owners, operators, or managers of public indoor spaces must post signs at entrance(s) instructing individuals of their legal obligation under this Order to wear a face covering when entering or moving within a public indoor space.
  6. Individuals two years old and younger are exempt from the requirements of this Order. Individuals ages three years old to nine years old are exempt from the requirements of this Order if they cannot medically tolerate a face covering.
  7. Individuals performing the following activities are exempt from the requirements of this Order while the activity is being performed:
    • Individuals who are hearing impaired or otherwise disabled or who are communicating with someone who is hearing impaired or otherwise disabled and where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication;
    • Individuals who are seated at a food service establishment;
    • Individuals who are exercising alone or with others from the individual’s household when a face covering would interfere with the activity;
    • Individuals who are receiving a personal service where the temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service;
    • Individuals who enter a business or receive services and are asked to temporarily remove a face covering for identification purposes;
    • Individuals who are actively engaged in a public safety role such as law enforcement, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel;
    • Individuals who are officiating at a religious service; or
    • Individuals who are giving a speech for broadcast or an audience.

8. This order supersedes the Public Health Order regarding face coverings that was issued on July 17, 2020.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this Order shall become effective at 12:01 a.m. on June 2, 2021 and will continue until it is no longer necessary as deemed by the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council.

(Signed by Chairman Melvin J. Baker)

06012021 – Amended Public Health Order of the SUIT re Face Coverings

05272021 FINAL-IMT-Phase II Safer at Home-Level 3-Outdoor Mask Flyer




March 11th COVID-19 Viral Drive Thru Testing Event

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will be offering COVID-19 viral testing to the entire community. Testing is an important piece to protecting our tribal community. Individuals must check-in at the testing event located at the hotel entrance. Follow signs directing traffic to hotel entrance. Face masks are required.

Testing will take place at the Sky Ute Casino Resort, Hotel Entrance TODAY, March 11, 2021 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Testing at this event will be less intrusive and will only take approximately 15 seconds to complete!

Testing will be open to enrolled Southern Ute tribal members, other Ute tribal members, tribal staff and the public for the duration of the entire event, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Results from the testing event will be communicated by tribal staff within 5 business days.

For questions, please contact the Southern Ute COVID-19 Call Center by dialing 970.563.0214, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

March COVID-19 Drive-thru Viral Testing Event

Southern Ute Indian Tribe COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance

As we near the holiday season and witness a new year on the horizon, we are met with continue uncertainty about our future. We have been center stage to an unprecedented viral pandemic, one that has not been seen in over one hundred years. We have seen, and some have experienced, tragic illness and loss throughout our community. As the year draws to a close, two biotech companies have developed and launched a vaccine against the virus, brining much needed hope.

Both Pfizer and Moderna have been granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). An EUA provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows the use of a new medical product during the time of a public health emergency. Both vaccines developed by two separate biotech companies have proven to be highly efficacious (both over 90%).

Please read the information below to learn about both vaccines and the distribution schedule.

For more information, please contact the Southern Ute Health Center at 970.563.4581 or the Southern Ute COVID-19 Call Center at 970.563.0214.

Designed & Published by Lindsay J. Box

Tribal Member COVID-19 Vaccine Survey

The Southern Ute Incident Management Team and Tribal Health Department would like to solicit participation in the Tribal Member COVID-19 Vaccine Survey to determine the level of participation of the membership as well as the questions and concerns that might exist.

The survey collection will begin on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 and conclude on Friday, January 23, 2021. Tribal Members can participate in the survey in the following ways.

𝟭. 𝗩𝗶𝗮 𝗦𝘂𝗿𝘃𝗲𝘆 𝗠𝗼𝗻𝗸𝗲𝘆 – a link to the Survey Monkey can be found on the tribal social media, Tribal Member Portal, and on Southern Ute Drum website.

𝟮. 𝗖𝗢𝗩𝗜𝗗-𝟭𝟵 𝗖𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗖𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿 (𝟵𝟳𝟬.𝟱𝟲𝟯.𝟬𝟮𝟭𝟰) – share responses directly with Call Center staff who will collect your survey results. Membership can also request a hard copy survey to be mailed via the Call Center.

𝟯. 𝗧𝗿𝗶𝗯𝗮𝗹 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗰𝗶𝗹 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗟𝗶𝗻𝗲 (𝟵𝟳𝟬.𝟱𝟲𝟯.𝟰𝟳𝟬𝟱 𝗲𝘅𝘁. 𝟳𝟵𝟬𝟮) – Please leave your responses in numerical order. ⁣

For questions or for more information, please contact Ms. Lindsay J. Box, Tribal Council Communication Specialist at 970.563.2313 or via email at

vaccine survey town hall

𝗩𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗧𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝗛𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗦𝗼𝘂𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗻 𝗨𝘁𝗲 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵 𝗖𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗖𝗵𝗶𝗲𝗳 𝗠𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝗢𝗳𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗲𝗿, 𝗗𝗿. 𝗥𝗶𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗞𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗿

Dr. Richard Keller will host a virtual town hall for the tribal membership to share information and participate in a Q&A on the COVID-19 vaccines that will be available to the tribal membership and patients of the Southern Ute Health Center (SUHC).

𝗝𝗮𝗻𝘂𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝟮𝟳 & 𝟮𝟴, 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟭

𝟱:𝟯𝟬 𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗹 𝟲:𝟯𝟬 𝗽.𝗺.

𝗪𝗲𝗯-𝗘𝘅 𝗘𝘃𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗮𝗹𝘀𝗼 𝗯𝗲 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗱 𝘃𝗶𝗮 𝗙𝗮𝗰𝗲𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸

Photo Credit | Lindsay J. Box

Designed & Produced by Lindsay J. Box