AFR: Most businesses following public health order occupancy limits

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Under the current public health order, many businesses are limited to how many people they can have inside or on the patio for dining. So, it’s not uncommon to see long lines outside stores as an employee keeps a count of how many people are inside. Still, the city does get complaints about businesses not following occupancy limits but Albuquerque Fire Rescue says most businesses are.

“Most of them, actually, all of them are in compliance. We go out and we get 311 concerns, we’ll send out an inspector either from Fire Marshal’s office, code enforcement or environmental health and investigate those concerns,” Deputy Chief Gene Gallegos said.

According to Deputy Chief Gallegos, so far in the month of December, there have been 34 complaints surrounding the public health order, which he said included some regarding businesses not following capacity limits. He also said the city has had a total of 58 interactions about occupancy limits at businesses so far this month. Though he said again, investigators found most businesses are following capacity limits and said no business in the City of Albuquerque has received a citation for not following capacity limits.

“Nobody wants to get shut down. Nobody wants to get made, be on TV saying they’re not following the Public Health Order. So, everyone’s trying their best to do their part,” Deputy Gallegos said. He said AFR worked closely with malls setting their capacity limits, which is 25% capacity while Bernalillo County is ‘red’ under the current public health order.

Deputy Gallegos also said they have investigators for the mall areas in case there is a complaint. But, it is still unclear how malls monitor capacity limits. KRQE News 13 reached out to both malls to see how they do it and did not hear back from the Coronado Center. Cottonwood Mall said it did not want to comment on the matter.

Deputy Chief Gallegos said while it may look like a business is busy or crowded, it doesn’t mean they’re breaking the rules. “People are usually, they’re tunnel vision, they want to go in and get their shopping and once they get in they’re like oh, man, it’s crowded in here. And actually, it’s not. You know, it does look that way sometimes…but people just need to be patient and try and following the Public Health Order the best they can.”

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