PHOENIX - A small tribe whose reservation lies deep in a gorge off the Grand Canyon is suspending its tourism operations "for the foreseeable future."
Due to surging cases of coronavirus, the Havasupai Tribe has extended its tourism ban until June 1, 2022.
"The Tribal Council has continued to consult with health experts and has ultimately decided that we will continue the suspension of tourism until June 1, 2022," Havasupai Tribal Council Chairman Thomas Siyuja, Sr. said. "There are still so many unknowns with the new COVID-19 variants that for the health and safety of our tribal community, it is in the best interest to remain closed to tourists."
Tribal officials say anyone who reservations and has not already re-booked will be rescheduled for the same date in 2023. No further reservations will be accepted for the 2022 season.
More information on reservations can be found at www.havasupaireservations.com.
The reservation is renowned for its blue-green waterfalls that draw tourists from around the world.
The tribe’s reservation is deep in a gorge off the Grand Canyon, accessible only by foot, mule or helicopter. It is home to about 450 people who have been instructed to stay at home, except to get essential items.
About 40,000 people visit the tribe’s land annually.
The Arizona Department of Health Services on Wednesday reported 61 additional COVID-19 deaths and 7,749 additional confirmed cases, increasing the state’s pandemic totals to 24,570 deaths and 1,419,562 cases.
The state’s rolling average of daily deaths rose from 71.3 on Dec. 20 to 75.3 on Monday while the rolling average of daily new cases more than doubled from 2,947 to 7,017.1 during the same period, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Arizona has the fourth-highest COVID-19 death rate among U.S. states, with 334 deaths per 100,000 of population, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.
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