ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With the new health order now in effect, the City of Albuquerque is planning on stepping up enforcement. As it turns out, there are already some businesses refusing to comply.
The city’s Planning and Zoning and Environmental Health Departments say they are both taking a reactive and proactive approach when it comes to enforcing the health order. Monday, KRQE News 13 found an Albuquerque gym defying the order by staying open.
“If the governor’s office determines that someone is not an essential business, despite what they think, they are obligated to shut down,” says Brennon Williams, Director for Planning and Zoning.
The city’s Planning and Zoning Department is responsible for making sure all non-food or restaurant-related businesses are following the health order. Gyms fall under their jurisdiction.
Crunch Fitness on Juan Tabo and Lomas remained opened as of Monday afternoon, despite the governor’s order saying gyms are ordered to shut down. KRQE News 13 asked the employees to do an interview but they refused and said they would contact their general manager and have plans to stay open as usual. About a dozen people were seen inside, everyone was wearing a mask.
Hobby Lobby on Montgomery and Eubank was also open Monday morning. An employee said over the phone that they are remaining open because they fall under the “big box store” category for essential businesses. A spokesperson for the governor’s office says it’s possible that Hobby Lobby can be defined as a hardware store, and stresses the importance of operating with a minimal number of people in the store at all times.
The city’s Environmental Health Department is responsible for monitoring food services and restaurants. At this point, they are going to skip issuing citations for any restaurants that refuse to comply.
“If we see anything that looks like they’re just disregarding and working around the public health order, we’re just going to suspend the permit on the spot,” says Mark DiMenna with the Health Department.
While it’s only been a few hours since the health order has been implemented, the Health Department says they have not gotten any complaints just yet. The city’s Planning and Zoning Department says they will have someone go out to Crunch Fitness to let the business know they are not in compliance. If they continue to disobey, the city will refer them to law enforcement who would then issue a citation.
Albuquerque Fire Rescue has been tasked with enforcement as well. They say with Monday’s new health order, nothing has changed on their end and they still plan on responding to complaints and taking a more educational approach.