RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – One of the first New Mexico industries impacted by coronavirus-related shutdowns says they’ve been hit hard in their busiest time of year. With proms and graduations up in the air, small businesses essential for events are unsure of the future.

March and April is a busy time for New Mexico’s event industry. Beyond the seasonal proms and graduation ceremonies and parties, there are conventions, Easter church celebrations and others utilizing local small businesses.

“When you think of a party, you think, who is putting this together?” said Rose Flores, owner of Pop Balloons based in Rio Rancho, which puts together balloon decorations for all kinds of events. “But there are tons of people in the background that all come together to make that event what it is.”

Flores says this time of year is a big source of income that helps them keep afloat throughout the rest of the year when things slow down. Beyond decorators like herself, Flores says other event careers are taking a hit, including caterers, event and wedding planners, venue operators, florists, and DJs.

She says her request for the community is to postpone their events for a later date, not cancel them.

“We realize there are milestones being celebrated every single day and perhaps right now you’re not able to gather with your family or have a big party,” said Flores. “Keep us in mind for the future. We’re saying postpone, don’t cancel. We would love to be able to celebrate with you in a month or in two months or whenever the time comes back, we will be there for you.”

Flores and Pop Balloons says so far, most contracts for this spring have postponed their events instead of canceling them. Meanwhile, the state is jumping in to help these small businesses like those in the event industry. The state is putting a special loan program in place to help these businesses during this time.