Southeast New Mexico suffers from store closures

Coronavirus New Mexico

ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – The list of businesses that need to close for two weeks after four or more rapid response visits, is growing. In southeast New Mexico grocery stores in several communities had to close, some towns only have one grocery store open now, leading to long lines.

“Before they thought well, the virus is not, it’s not going to affect me but when it starts to affect their family, now they are starting to understand it’s real,” said Nick Cruz, a concerned resident.

The New Mexico Health Department shut down two grocery stores in Roswell because of too many rapid responses due to COVID-19 exposures. In Carlsbad and Hobbs, they are down to one grocery store in each community after the other was closed for two weeks by the Health Department. Residents say this is causing some people to panic.

“The governor put in a new edict, I knew things would be crazy, and I’m not crazy, but if everybody else is crazy, then you kinda have to react to that and so I wanted to go pick up a few things just to make sure I didn’t have to go out this weekend or any other time. I pulled into the parking lot of Walmart at 6:58 and I did not walk into the store until 8:10,” said Michelle Martin, a concerned resident.

Michelle Martin said the lines this morning to get into Walmart stretched about a half-mile in Roswell. Now people say when a store closes for two weeks it greatly affects families in their community.

“I already had my business closed, we thought we could make it because he has his job we would be ok, but with this happening, we don’t know how we are going to make ends meet,” said Paddy Spei – Johnson.

Just to give you an idea of how bad the spread is in southeast New Mexico we looked at cases from Wednesday. Like Curry County, who reported 89 cases Wednesday. 89 cases in Curry County is like having 2,700 cases in a single day in Bernalillo County. In Chaves County, 191 cases would be like having 1,900 cases in Bernalillo County.

“You go in, you see one or two people wearing a mask or nobody’s wearing a mask so it’s like, I don’t understand why people are downplaying the virus cause it’s serious,” said Nick.

A zip code in Roswell ranked second highest in the state for infections in a single day.

“I mean you have the elderly waiting in line, standing out there luckily it was a nice cool morning but you have people in wheelchairs doing the same thing, or people with their children and this is the mass hysteria that is being created by this,” said Michelle.

The Department of Health says it evaluates closures to make sure they won’t greatly impact a community and they try not to close all the grocery stores in a town. They say they try to work with businesses to keep them open.


New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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