NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Friday, November 6, marks the day the New Mexico Environment Department said it would start ordering businesses to shut down for two weeks if they’ve had four or more rapid responses over the last 14 days.
So far, the state Department of Health has ordered three businesses to close for two weeks. The state’s Rapid Response Watchlist is updated every day to show people which workplaces have had repeated issues with COVID-19.
“These businesses have will all be very aware that we’ve been there conducting rapid responses, so I don’t think it should come as too much of a surprise,” Maddy Hayden, with the New Mexico Environment Department, said last week.
Hayden warned a handful of businesses were at risk of being forced to shut down for two weeks. This week, that’s happening.
The New Mexico Department of Health sent ‘Notice of Closure’ letters this week to at least three businesses, including the Stampede Meat facility in Doña Ana County, Chaparral Materials in Santa Fe, and Deming Manufactured Homes, LLC, in Deming.
The Stampede Meat facility shows 10 rapid responses in the last two weeks. The Chaparral and Deming establishments each show four rapid responses.
A rapid response is initiated by the state once a business reports a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace.
“These crackdowns, these evidence-based strategies are only as good as the folks o practice the evidence,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, during a November 5 news conference. “And if they’re not gonna do that, then it just, it isn’t gonna work. It’s true. We’re demonstrating it’s true by the crisis that we’re currently in. “
The governor warned there could be updates to the public health order soon if COVID-19 trends don’t improve. “I think New Mexicans know that I’m prepared to make even the most difficult decisions that are about saving lives,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham.
KRQE News 13 checked some of the businesses on the state’s watchlist on Friday. Trader Joe’s, which has four rapid responses in the last two weeks, was strictly limiting customers with a line outside the door and a sign saying ‘masks are required.’
After five rapid responses, the Il Vicino Wood Oven Pizza place on Coors now has a sign on the door, saying, “We are temporarily closed for deep cleaning to provide increased protection for our guests and our staff. We apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to seeing you soon!”
A handful of Walmarts in Albuquerque remain on the list and appeared to have a steady stream of customers.
KRQE News 13 also noticed some businesses appear to be taking it upon themselves to close for cleaning or restrict indoor dining. The Golden Pride on Lomas for example was recently taken off the state’s watchlist and is currently open for drive-thru only.
Hayden said the NMED is consulting with the DOH to determine if more businesses meet the criteria for closures. If so, the state will hand-deliver those closure notices to businesses.