ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque’s mayor has made a point of encouraging people to follow all of the COVID-safe guidelines during the pandemic, but the city didn’t seem to notice a downtown concert during a city-approved event where crowds were gathered, ignoring the rules. Photos show a crowd in a parking lot, partying during the pandemic.

About two weeks ago, Central Avenue was buzzing with people out enjoying the Albuquerque Art Walk where artists show off their work along Central. However, near 7th Street in a parking lot behind the historic El Rey Theater, a local photographer also captured a concert.

“Definitely a lot of people,” said Rob Zamora. “There was a lot of enthusiasm throughout the whole night because I think there was a lot of different like entertainment going on like music and different creative gatherings together.”

Bernalillo County is in the ‘yellow’ phase, so concerts can only happen outdoors with 25% occupancy. You can see smiling faces and people getting into the show, but the pictures also reveal that only a few were following the public health guidelines by wearing face masks and they’re crammed together, not socially distancing.

“As far as masks went, for the most part, I didn’t see too many like it didn’t seem like masks were a priority,” said Zamora. “There was definitely a lot of space so I’m not sure if that was part of the reason why people were free to walk outdoors and go as where they please.”

The organizers for the Albuquerque Art Walk said they did not organize the concert and it’s unclear who did. The El Rey did not respond to questions.

KRQE News 13 asked the city if businesses will be cited if another event happens. The city didn’t specifically address that in their response but said they’re glad to work with organizers to help them understand what is currently allowed for compliance and encourage people to do their part to keep the event safe for everyone.

KRQE News 13 reached out to some other local music venues to see if they organized the event but did not hear back. The following is the response from the City of Albuquerque:

“Under the State’s current Public Health Order, there are restrictions and limitations in place that must be followed. There is still significant risk of the spread of COVID -19 in our community. We are glad to work with organizers to help them understand what is currently allowed to be in compliance moving forward and we encourage patrons to do their part in keeping the event safe for everyone. We understand that the pandemic has been particularly difficult on small businesses and we encourage business owners to reach out to our Economic Development Department for free PPE and other resources available to them.”

Brennon Williams, CABQ Planning Director