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

Principal Chief Richard Sneed of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians said he would not enforce Gov. Roy Cooper's latest executive order.

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

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.

“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 Gov. Roy Cooper,” Sneed said in a Facebook post. “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.

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.