Mayor Keller, public health leaders provide update on COVID-19 response

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A week after Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller promised he would be ramping up enforcement on the state’s public health order, we’re getting a look at what the city has been doing. Dozens of inspectors were out over the weekend as part of the mayor’s promised Enforcement Blitz and while they were busy, the numbers show the city is still focusing on education over punishment.

“We had 302 violations, notices of violations, 7 citations, we had in just this weekend 1,469 compliance interactions,” said Mayor Keller.

Last week, Mayor Keller said enforcement would target COVID-19 hotspots across the city but did not give specifics. On a map revealed Wednesday, you can see there were ‘compliance interactions’ in every part of the city. Keller says inspectors focused on everything from big box stores and grocery stores to restaurants and parks. The mayor says over the weekend, there was a big focus on cracking down on mass gatherings of more than five people. He said inspectors were out at skate parks and pavilions and APD’s Party Patrol Unit was also responding to calls.

“We did have our party patrol working on the weekend especially some of these challenges that we’ve had there were seven violations issued with respect to large gatherings in houses constituting a party. There were about 14 complaints for parties,” Keller said.

The city also warned against large gatherings ahead of the Halloween weekend. Keller warning that ignoring the rules could send the case count soaring. Keller also saying that he doesn’t see a need for a strict city-wide curfew at this time but said restrictions like that could be on the horizon. The governor’s office has been critical of the city’s lack of enforcement.

On Tuesday, the mayor and Albuquerque officials discussed the city’s response to winter weather conditions after a storm hit the city on Monday night. Mayor Keller stated last week that the city was focusing on COVID-19 enforcement amid the public health order.

The announcement to ramp up enforcement came after New Mexico saw drastic increases in COVID-19 cases in the last few weeks.

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