Mayor Keller outlines new details for Albuquerque’s economic reopening

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Mayor Tim Keller and Albuquerque city officials held a press conference on Friday to highlight the city’s coronavirus response and discussed what preparations the city would take to enter the first phase of reopening the economy.

Due to construction inside of City Hall, Mayor Keller stated city staff was having technical difficulties with the video signal for Friday’s press conference.

Economy

The Mayor acknowledged a soft reopening of Albuquerque’s economy Friday, as non-essential businesses are able to reopen with curbside pick-up or delivery during what is being called a “preparation” phase.

Starting Saturday, May 2, the City of Albuquerque will reopen golf courses.

“The theory is by mid-May, we’re going to be able to start opening things at either 20% or 50% occupancy, that is our current gameplan,” Keller said.

The city is anticipating by May 15, it will be able to initiate “phase one” of reopening the economy, which could allow 50% occupancy at restaurants, 20% occupancy for retailers. Gyms, salons, hotels and houses of worship will also likely be allowed open in some capacity, but it’s unclear exactly how how.

By the week of May 11, Mayor Keller says the city is aiming to have “detailed questions answered” regarding the mid-May reopening, including more information about how restaurants, retail shops, gyms, salons, hotels, houses of worship may reopen with restrictions.

The Mayor says he also hopes to have more information by the week of May 11 about reopening of public events, city facilities like the Biopark, museums and libraries by Mid-May. Those facilities may reopen toward the end of May, or early June with certain restrictions in place, during “phase two” of reopening.

“A zoo is a very large facility and we can spread folks around because of its size, but also making sure that we don’t have lines, to go into the penguin exhibit for example, and if we do, that we’re putting in the right measures so that people can be spaced out accordingly,” Albuquerque’s Chief Operations Officer Lawrence Rael said during the Friday briefing.

Phase two, Rael said, will also likely include the reopening of more activities at Tingley Beach and the city’s shooting range.

Keller says he hopes the next two weeks gives businesses time to prepare for expected new guidelines on how to safely reopen.

“I think hopefully this will be good, meaning that, we’re giving folks time to prepare, two weeks to prepare, but then we’re allow 50% occupancy or opening for retailers, that’s actually jumping a couple of stages, so we’re going a little slower up front, so that we can go a little bit faster down the road,” Keller said.

Sporting Events and Other Mass Gatherings

Mayor Keller says the city’s large sporting events like the Isotopes and New Mexico United are off the table for May and June however he still has hope they will happen in late summer. Next week, Keller will be meeting with the ownership of Albuquerque teams.

The city expects to have more definitive decisions regarding these events by the end of May.

Large city events like Summerfest are still in limbo and not expected to take place in any form through June. The city is eyeing July for a possible restart for mass gatherings, as part of “phase three” of reopening, however, planning for that phase is contingent on how “phase one” and “phase two” of reopening take shape in mid-May and late-May/June, respectively.

Golf Courses

As stated by the governor, all city golf courses will open on Saturday, May 2.

All rounds of golf at city courses will require a tee-time until further notice. No walk up players are allowed.

All tee times must be reserved. Golfers are asked to call the courses for further information.

Pro shops will remain closed and all transactions must be done at the door or through a walk-up window. Golfers are required to maintain a six-foot distance from other players and are asked not to show up to the course more than 15 minutes in advance.

Snack bars and grills will be open for carry out only and will not allow seating. Additionally, there is only one person per golf-cart unless you live together in the same household.

General Updates

The New Mexico Department of Health is offering no-cost, COVID-19 testing at the South Valley Health Commons on Tuesday, May 5 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Call 873-7477 to make an appointment. Testing is offered by appointment only. KRQE News 13 has a full list of COVID-19 testing sites and additional information online.

TriCore Reference Laboratories will start testing for COVID-19 antibodies on Monday, May 4.

A machine that is capable of decontaminating PPE is now being assembled at Santa Ana Star Center and is expected to be fully functional on Saturday, May 2.

The creative economy relief grants have gone out and the city is starting to get content back from artists. Starting on Friday, May 1 at 7 p.m., the first city-funded arts relief content will air on CABQ social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube, and GovTV.

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