The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, a federally recognized Native American tribe located in the mountains of North Carolina, is taking a stand against North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat.
What's the background?
Amid a surge in coronavirus cases across the Tar Heel State, Cooper announced a "modified stay-at-home" order last week, which went into effect Friday.
Under the order, North Carolinians are required to remain at home between 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., unless they are conducting activity that Cooper has deemed "essential." That means most businesses are mandated to close by 10 p.m. Cooper has also prohibited the sale of alcohol after 9 p.m. and before 7 a.m.
"It means just what it says: people are to stay at home between those hours," Cooper said.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, responsible for law enforcement in North Carolina's largest city and county, said they would enforce Cooper's order, though not proactively, according to WCNC-TV.
"We won't be setting up road blocks or check points in relation to that, in short, but if we come across you out in the public past hours you may be questioned on your whereabouts in compliance with the order," CMPD Deputy Chief Jeff Estes said.
The order will be in place until Jan. 5, but could be extended.
How did the tribe respond?
In a statement, Principal Chief Richard Sneed said his people would not be abiding by Cooper's arbitrary order, citing the financial needs of his tribe.
"After considerable research and consideration the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will not be adopting the measures included in the newest Executive Order issued by Governor Roy Cooper. As Principal Chief of the EBCI I have worked with EBCI public health officials to enact social distancing measures that protect our tribal citizens and guests while balancing the financial position of our community. I will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 in our community and will update our community if further measures are warranted," Sneed announced Friday.
States across the country are enacting new restrictions as COVID cases surge, which was not unexpected considering it is cold and flu season. Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, also attributed the spike to Thanksgiving.
"We are now seeing the impact of Thanksgiving gatherings," Cohen said last week, WCNC reported.
As TheBlaze reported, the economic consequences of the restrictions have been devastating on small businesses, particularly the restaurant industry.
In fact, the National Restaurant Association revealed that more than 110,000 restaurants have shuttered their doors since the pandemic began, or nearly one-in-five of every restaurant in America.