Small businesses in New Mexico have paid a tremendous financial price during the Public Health care order. Hundreds, maybe more, will never be able to reopen their doors. New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham acknowledged today in her live public address, “This public health crisis has also become an economic health crisis, and there is great urgency to address both, and we believe we can safely and productively do that.”
The state today initiated a phased in plan to ease public health restrictions with the economic reopening of New Mexico. We are still under a Stay at Home Order, but she said reopening certain aspects of the business sector are now possible.
Between May 1- May 15 the State of New Mexico is in a Preparation Stage, these businesses will be able to operate:
- Retailers that are allowed, in their business license, to offer curbside service may open….this excludes Liquor Stores
- State Parks may open, after they make essential preparations and have employees in place, daytime only, no camping, no Visitor Centers may open
- Pet Groomers, Pet Boarders and Veterinary Services may open but not beauticians or barbers
- Golf Courses may open for golfers only, they may not provide food or retail services
- Gun Stores may open by appointment only
Closure orders remain in place for offices, work spaces, spas, beauticians, theaters, casinos, gyms, indoor malls, dine-in restaurants and bars. Restaurants may still offer curbside and delivery service. She said, mass gatherings are still prohibited. This includes churches and other faith organizations. ” Let’s be very clear: The reopening of New Mexico depends upon New Mexicans. Going out, not staying home, and gathering with people will worsen the spread of this disease. It will lead to more illness and death. We cannot win this fight if we let our collective guard down. Stay home, slow the spread, and slowly but surely, we will be able to continue reopening,” she said.
The Governor also said there is a possibility of moving into Phase One, a longer-term plan for reopening the state, by mid-May. Retailers may be able to get back to operating at 25 percent occupancy, based on fire code capacity, dining-in at restaurants and bars could be permitted at up to 50 percent capacity by the same time. Gyms, hotels and places of worship could operate in a limited fashion as well. David Scrase agreed that we must learn how to safely reopen and keep our economy going while awaiting a vaccine to be developed because the COVID-19 illness is likely to be around for a long time, on a seasonal basis, much like the flu.
The Governor stated her concerns remain about how to ensure the virus does not spread with the partial reopening of businesses. The governor said mandating that everyone wear masks, and enforcing such an order, would be “incredibly challenging” for a number of reasons — including for those who already have breathing problems and may find a mask to be an impediment.
The governor said states bordering New Mexico are reopening certain areas that seem to be slowing the spread of the virus, while other areas remain hot spots. She and Scrase said the state does not have the ability to block borders to stop New Mexicans from driving across state lines to visit businesses that may be open in Texas or Arizona, nor can they block others from traveling into New Mexico. But they urged New Mexicans to avoid such actions. “Do not do that,” Scrase said. “You’re just gonna … substantially increase your risk of getting COVID.”