ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – Roswell City Council held a special meeting Monday night where they voted to defy the current public health order by opening city facilities back up. They also told the city manager those facilities cannot close unless the council approves it, not a health order; The motion passed 5 to 4.
Roswell City Council members voted to reopen the Roswell Aquatic Center and other city facilities even if it goes against the public health order. City Councilor Jason Perry said he wants kids back in school.
Perry, who is still recovering from COVID-19, left the meeting early but said he wants to see everything open but doesn’t know what the council can do. “I personally do not consider this to be an emergency so I do not see the reason we are having this special meeting,” said Councilor Juan Oropesa.
Councilors expressed the issues they saw, and how it could just ruffle feathers. “Mr. mayor I think I have to agree that I have real concerns about doing this opening, it is in the best interest really of everyone concerned,” said Councilor Judy Stubbs.
Residents spoke to the council on both sides. Some showing support for what the council is doing. Others point out that Roswell has some of the highest infection rates in the state.
“But let me just point out to you that our number one position for COVID, is a direct result of your position on COVID,” said a concerned resident Sara McArthur. The governor’s office says state public health measures carry the full weight and scope of the law. Just as municipalities cannot choose to be exempt from state laws, they cannot choose to be exempt from state public health measures.