Alibi V.29 No.29 • July 16-22, 2020 

Newscity

Restaurants Protest New Health Order

The News Monkey

The New Mexico Restaurant Association organized a virtual protest earlier this week to speak out against the issuance of a new amendment to the public health order.

According to Las Cruces Sun, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced last week that the state will be reversing reopening procedures and is once again disallowing the use of indoor dining areas. Patio and outdoor dining will be allowed to continue at 50 percent capacity.

The NMRA reportedly asked restaurant owners to protest the amendment virtually by posting images on social media of restaurant employees and customers standing in front of empty restaurants with the hashtag #LetUsServe. At least two restaurants have announced plans to defy the order.

It is unclear why the governor has decided to reverse reopening procedures. According to DOH statistics, New Mexico has seen large drops in hospitalization and death rates over the last month, pointing to a positive trend. Lujan Grisham appears to be citing new case counts instead—a metric which researchers at Stanford University said was inefficient at tracking viral spread.

NMRA CEO Carol Wight told reporters that New Mexico could lose up to 20 percent of its restaurants—around 700 businesses—because of the amendment. Over 200 have already closed permanently.

Unemployment Work Search Requirements Waived

The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions announced last week that it will continue waiving work search requirements for those seeking unemployment during the pandemic.

According to KOB Secretary of Department of Workforce Solutions Bill McCamley said the state will wait to make planned changes that would require those collecting unemployment benefits to show proof that they’ve been applying for jobs.

According to the US Department of Labor, the unemployment filings in New Mexico rose by 20 percent at the beginning of this month, compared to the national average, which actually dropped by 7 percent.

The state recently extended employment benefits in response to continued shutdowns.

Events Defy Health Orders

Event organizers of two major events are still holding public gatherings in defiance of the governor’s health order. One of them is facing a $5,000 fine.

According to KRQE the Hidalgo Youth Rodeo in southwest New Mexico was held on the Hidalgo County fairgrounds last weekend with the blessings of the county commission. County Commissioner Joel Edwards told reporters that the commission plans on keeping the fairgrounds open and continuing to allow the rodeo even if the state orders them to shut it down. The Hidalgo County EMS Director said that the board’s decision to allow the rodeo to continue is frustrating.

Meanwhile the Alien Motor Speedway in Roswell is facing a $5,000 fine for hosting a number of mass gatherings last weekend. State Police said this was the raceway’s third violation of the public health order and it will be reported to NMDOH. The raceway has reportedly announced another event this weekend.