ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Months into the ban on indoor dining, health inspectors are still nailing restaurants for letting customers eat inside and that includes letting them eat inside enclosed tents.
“We’ve had a handful of cases where facilities are just not getting it, just don’t want to hear it and we have to be a little more stern about enforcement, but by and large it’s just a matter of not understanding what they’re being asked for,” said Mark DiMenna, the Deputy Director of the ABQ Environmental Health Department.
The popular brunch spot, the Grove along Central in east downtown was on the long list of restaurants in Albuquerque breaking the rules earlier this month. The Grove’s offense was a simple one, their patio was too enclosed. They corrected it during the inspection by opening up three sides. The city said more and more restaurants are breaking this rule due to the colder weather. Restaurant patio tents need to have at least two of the flaps up.
Meanwhile, other businesses were caught serving customers indoors. This includes two popular restaurants on east Central, Lindo Mexico, and El Sinaloense as well as the Bombs Away Brewery near the base.
All three had to close up for the day but are now open and following the rules.
“Our immediate reaction is just to pull the (food) permit,” said DiMenna. “We see that as an imminent health hazard, and is very much putting people who are there at risk.”
The Texas Roadhouse and Range Cafe on Coors also had to fix their tents by opening up more sides. The city said a lot of these problems are spotted during their normal restaurant inspections. But sometimes it’s a tip from the public that prompts the visit. The city releases a new COVID-19 business report every week.