State’s ‘Red to Green’ levels impact businesses, unemployment

Coronavirus New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Wednesday marks the first day of the state’s new Red to Green tiered reopening plan and with things already changing. How are local businesses and communities adapting to the restrictions?

Already in the first day, there’s been one county that went from yellow to red and another county bumped up to yellow. KRQE News 13 asked local businesses how they plan on managing the constant changes?

A brief feeling of relief from the Blue Window Bistro in Los Alamos. “We’ve had our worries of course we’ve held up compared to other stories I have heard,” said the restaurant’s manager, Isaiah Garcia.

They thought they would be reopening for indoor dining Wednesday because Tuesday, Los Alamos was the only county in the state to be considered in the ‘yellow’ stage of reopening. However, the state announced the county has slipped into the ‘red’ zone after their positivity rate went up.

They have 48 hours to tighten their restrictions. “We’re going to take full advantage of this 48 hours as much as we can,” said Garcia.

Businesses said this yo-yo effect will make it hard on their staff. “It’s a lot of bringing people back, letting them go, bringing people back,” said Garcia.

KRQE News 13 asked the state’s Workforce Solutions Department if a county’s fluctuation between red, yellow, and green zones will impact people getting off and on unemployment benefits?

“We’re really not concerned, that won’t be an issue for a couple of reasons because it’s going every two weeks so it’s not going back and forth every single day,” said Workforce Solutions Department Secretary Bill McCamley.

The Department adds that even in the most restrictive zone, places that have been closed before like barbershops and gyms will be able to reopen at a limited capacity so it will help people get back to work no matter which zone they’re in. “It provides a local incentive for governments and businesses really in the whole community to do the right thing to get into the ‘yellow’ get into the ‘green’ and stay there,” said McCamley. “That’s going to allow more businesses to open up, allow more folks to get off unemployment and into the workforce.”

Businesses said this is just another hurdle. “Any profit we can make, we’re going to try our hardest to make,” said Garcia.

Secretary McCamley also adds that if people get rehired, they can keep their unemployment claim open but will have to report their wages and no longer claim benefits.


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