ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kick-off to summer, and it’s going to look a lot different this year because of the pandemic and a state-wide ban on mass gatherings. Most people said they plan to have a quiet weekend at home or at a local park since community pools are closed.
“Very different. I think we’ll probably be doing yard work at home, maybe we’ll grill something on the grill or something like that. But, no gatherings or get-togethers, nothing like that,” William Gray of Albuquerque said.
“Balloon Fiesta park hosts the wine festival and we’ve done that every year since I was old enough to drink so it’s really sad that it’s canceled,” Amanda Mackey of Albuquerque said.
One of the most popular places to spend the holiday weekend, Elephant Butte Lake, is staying closed. At a press conference on Wednesday, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said she wrestled with the decision but added keeping it closed was the safest thing to do given the current COVID-19 data.
“Even if you did a limited access, 25% say of the state’s side’s capacity for boaters. It’s 5,000 boats,” she said. “And that becomes a high risk in this way: gas, marina, food, picnicking, right? Fishing, coming to the beaches, and really keeping that social distancing.”
The federally-owned side of the marina has been open and will remain open into the holiday. Albuquerque city golf courses will be open over the weekend and on Monday. Seventeen of the state’s 35 state parks will also be open over the weekend and on Monday.
The parks are resuming day-use fees and encourage people to bring exact change to limit person-to-person interaction. No overnight camping is allowed at the state parks. A number of Memorial Day services honoring fallen heroes are canceled or online.