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Tribe won’t implement governor’s new order on virus limits

The Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians in North Carolina won’t implement Gov. Roy Cooper’s new executive order on virus restrictions.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that the tribe’s Principal Chief Richard Sneed announced Friday the tribe won’t adopt Cooper’s latest order at the Qualla Boundary in the western-most corner of the state.

Sneed wrote in a statement on Facebook that he has worked with tribal public health officials to enact social distancing measures to protect tribal citizens and guests while balancing the financial position of the community.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has reported a total of 652 COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, 58 of which are active. Health officials say just two people are currently hospitalized.

The tribe slowly began to reopen businesses in May, including its two casinos.

Cooper’s order went into effect at 10 p.m. Friday. Under the modified stay-at-home order, alcohol sales are banned after 9 p.m. and most businesses must close by 10 p.m. Grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations are an exception.

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