ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Mayor Tim Keller and city officials held a press conference on Albuquerque’s local coronavirus response efforts on Wednesday and focused on public safety, public health, and unveiled new data resource that’s available on the city’s website.
The mayor started the conference by making several announcements from city and state departments. Starting on Wednesday, the Unemployment Insurance Operations Center will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the rest of the week.
The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions reports that under the guidance of the U.S. Department of Labor, they will waive the waiting week for those who have applied for benefits since March 15.
The University of New Mexico and a network of 3D printers are collaborating to design and deploy protective gear.
Recipients of the city’s micro-grant program will be announced on Friday and Monday. Checks will go out next week.
Mayor Keller said many small businesses have reached out to the city concerned that the federal payroll protection program is difficult for local businesses to get. The mayor encourages businesses to continue trying to apply through other local banks.
Health order enforcement
Mayor Keller acknowledged that the stay-at-home order is difficult on local businesses however, in an effort to save lives against COVID-19, non-essential businesses must close. The Albuquerque Police Department is now issuing warnings if the city has been notified of business noncompliance for the second time. Additionally, warnings can come from the Environmental Health Dept. and Albuquerque Fire Rescue and the Fire Marshall’s office.
The mayor stated that several businesses have been non-compliant with this order including Total Wine, Lowe’s, and Rags to Riches Smoke Shop which refused to close. If non-compliance continues the city will physically close the businesses off in addition to escalating fines.
The city is working on its bus route. The city reports bus ridership is way down and that the notion that they are using fewer buses for the same amount of people is incorrect. The city is using the Saturday schedule but is trying to get additional buses on some routes such as the Route 66.
Albuquerque Police Department
APD is now beginning enforcement action on businesses that are deemed non-essential. Police have issued business checks on about 400 businesses and state a vast majority are complying with the governor’s order.
APD reports that there were businesses that were not adhering to the order and that they’re getting warnings now. If they refuse to comply, they will be cited.
APD is working hand-in-hand with the New Mexico State Police department on enforcement, their code enforcement team, as well as the Attorney General’s Office to coordinate all efforts into a single entity.
Albuquerque Fire Rescue
AFR reports their top priority is to provide adequate PPE for firefighters when they respond to 911 calls. The department has adequate stock of PPE to respond to COVID-19 calls and are tracking equipment daily. The department has been identifying potential COVID-19 calls since January 29 through their dispatch center.
The new data hub is available online through the City of Albuquerque’s website and provides information, maps, and resources on the city’s COVID-19 response.
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