New Mexico consumers: COVID-19 Watchlist is a ‘useful tool’

Coronavirus New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – If you’ve wondered whether the place you get your groceries or businesses you visit has had multiple problems with COVID-19 lately, the state is now publishing a list online. It shows businesses that have had two or more rapid responses in the last two weeks.

The watchlist is meant to give people a better idea of where COVID-19 is in workplaces. KRQE News 13 asked people in Albuquerque whether they plan to use this new tool.

“If you need to go out to one of these businesses, you will have the tools in an easy-to-find way, as to where COVID is in the workplace, in your community,” said Sec. James Kenney, of the New Mexico Environment Department, during an October 20 news conference.

The NMED is now updating daily a ‘COVID-19 Rapid Response Watchlist’ online to show places of employment that have had two or more rapid responses in the last two weeks. A rapid response is initiated once the state learns of a positive COVID case in the workplace.

“I think it’s a good thing so that people know what’s been kind of identified as being risky,” an Albuquerque resident said. “I would probably take a look to see if I knew any of the businesses, but I still need to do my thing,” he said. “I still need to support the local community.”

While state officials are still encouraging people to stay home, Sec. Kenney explained the watchlist should help the public make informed decisions when visiting a business.

“I would keep an eye on it, I think now that I’m more aware of it, I think I’m going to start doing it,” a New Mexico resident said.

As of Friday, October 23, more than 70 establishments across the state are on the list. The list includes a handful of Walmarts in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Los Lunas, Portales, and Carlsbad.

In the metro, popular places like Trader Joes in Uptown, the Golden Pride on Lomas, and Sonic on Central in southwest Albuquerque are also on the list.

“You know we all have to be aware of what’s going on, and we have to be cognizant of where the hot spots are,” one man said. “I just worry about the economy, our hospitality here in New Mexico. We’re great, hospitable people, but we don’t have any tourists.”

Consumers said on Friday, while they believe the Rapid Response Watchlist is a useful tool, they still want to support local businesses as best they can.

“Is it gonna really guide me away from it? Probably not,” an Albuquerque man said. “But I’m gonna definitely hold up to a higher standard of what I need to do to be safe.”

Starting Friday, if a non-essential business records four rapid responses within a 14-day span, they’ll be forced to close down for two weeks. The COVID-19 Watchlist will be updated daily by the New Mexico Environment Department.


New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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