By Carla O’Day
NIXON — The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe announced Friday it would begin screening all traffic entering tribal lands for the next 60 days or until the COVID-19 pandemic has eased.
Under permit with the Nevada Department of Transportation, motorists will be screened at the intersection of Nevada 446 and Nevada 447 directly south of Nixon, and along Pyramid Highway mile marker 28 south of Sutcliffe.
Only residential and business traffic will be permitted. All local tribal and non-tribal traffic with proof of residency will be allowed through, while all traffic without appropriate proof of residency will be turned around, the tribe said.
Efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 have included actions through formal resolutions and declarations by the Tribal Council. Mirroring the declaration at the state level, Tribal Chairman Anthony Sampson has declared a state of emergency on the reservation.
Other actions included closing Pyramid Lake to all permitted activities such as boating, camping, fishing, and day use activities for the general public. Additionally, a stay at home order was issued for residents, along with a 10 p.m. curfew.
“Despite these aggressive efforts the Pyramid Lake Reservation has experienced an increase in the number of positive cases of COVID-19 and unfortunately, recreational users from the outside communities and other states continue to visit Pyramid Lake,” the tribe said in a statement.
“The Pyramid Lake Tribal Council recognizes that American Indian populations on remote reservations are highly vulnerable not only due to the nature of COVID-19 but due to the lack of medical facilities and staff to address their needs. The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe is no exception to these threats. In light of this and the extraordinary threat posed by the Coronavirus, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal Council in conjunction with Tribal Chairman Sampson have chosen to take an even more aggressive approach to protect our community members. We wish our visitors well and are hopeful that the progression of this devastating pandemic will dissipate so we can open our beaches and lake back up soon.”