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Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Responds to “North Country Reopening”

May 14, 2020

AKWESASNE — New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that the North Country is now one of four regions that have met the requirements to begin Phase One for reopening part of the regional economy as soon as Friday, May 15th. The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe is taking the Governor’s decision under consideration before proceeding; along with guidance from the Tribe’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) U.S. Center for Disease Control, New York State Department of Health, Franklin County Public Health Department, and data from the John Hopkins University Coronavirus Research Center.

“We want community members to know that we are aware of the State’s plan to reopen regional economies however, the Akwesasne community continues to remain under a State of Emergency in response to the ongoing public health crisis,” stated the Tribal Council. Tribal Council added, “The health and safety of our community member, as well as our visitors, continues to be a high priority. Plans to reopen some businesses are being developed and reviewed, but when implemented we want to ensure they meet tribal standards as we proceed forward.”

Specific business sectors are identified in the four phases of reopening a regional economy; with the first phase limited to only construction, manufacturing, retail for curbside pickup and also agriculture, forestry and fishing. Some Akwesasne businesses, such as restaurants, have already been providing curbside pick-up or delivery services during the past two months and will continue in this manner, with no eat-in dining.

The additional phases are: Phase Two includes professional services, finance and insurance, all retail, administrative support and real estate/rental leasing; Phase Three includes restaurants and hotels; while Phase Four includes arts, entertainment, recreation and education. Each phase’s implementation will be assessed after two weeks before proceeding to the next one.

The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Emergency Operations Center has been monitoring guidance provided by local, state and federal health agencies throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic in anticipation of reopening Akwesasne’s economy. In doing so, it has already reached out to some businesses through the Compliance Department and requested they prepare and submit their reopening procedures to the EOC for review.

The Tribe’s EOC will work in collaboration with the Compliance Department and the Safety Manager to review and determine the ability of a local business to safely open. They will look at each plan’s ability to implement ongoing safety measures that promote social distancing, density reduction, telework (if available), and requirement to wear masks, among other safety measures.

Following the EOC’s approval to reopen, the Tribe’s Safety Manager and Compliance will conduct health and safety inspections to ensure that local businesses continue to meet tribal safety standards.


The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council is the duly elected and federally recognized government of the Saint Regis Mohawk People