Albuquerque to focus on enforcement in response to rising COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Mayor of Albuquerque said places that are still closed, like Explora and the ABQ BioPark Aquarium, might stay that way for a while given the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases. Mayor Keller said, while openings are on hold, the city will focus on enforcing the state public health order.

“We are going to be more vigilant on enforcement,” Mayor Keller said. “So we’re going to be keeping, I think, a much more intense eye on enforcement, especially of social gatherings and so forth.”

However, in talking about enforcement, the mayor described a fire marshal or code inspector showing up at businesses and “educating” them on the rules. He didn’t mention citations.

KRQE News 13 has reported on how the city’s health inspectors have been checking restaurants and grocery stores to make sure people are wearing masks and that occupancy is limited appropriately. Also, as the weather starts to cool down, the mayor had a warning for businesses with tents up for makeshift outdoor dining.

“Now that it’s getting colder, if you put all the walls down in your tent, then you are making it an indoor facility, which means you can only be at 25 percent occupancy instead of 75,” he said.

He also urged against having outdoor heaters underneath those tents because it is a fire hazard.

The good news is the mayor said he’ll have more details on grant money for small businesses in the next few weeks. The city plans to start handing out more aid in the next few months after the city council approved using $10 million of federal CARES Act money for small business grants to help pay for things like more outdoor improvements, payroll, and rent.

The city said businesses can also get free personal protective equipment from organizations like the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and the Albuquerque Community Foundation.

Bernalillo County’s 7-day rolling average was at 61 COVID-19 cases on Sunday, which is up from 39 the week before. The mayor said the city will take a close look at what is driving up the numbers.


New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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