Total Wine shut down after resisting governor’s order to close liquor stores

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – One big chain tried to resist Governor Lujan Grisham’s new order that all stand-alone liquor stores are to close starting April 7. Total Wine & More opened Tuesday morning, but by the afternoon the state had shut them down.

Despite the governor’s orders, both Total Wine locations in Albuquerque opened up for business as usual and told shoppers everything was good. “I just asked them inside and they said it’s considered a grocery store so I think we’re just going along with that,” said one Total Wine customer.

Total Wine opened its two Albuquerque locations Tuesday and argued it’s a grocery store because they sell snacks like chips, salsa, olives, cheese and crackers. However, it’s a claim the governor disputes.

Shortly after opening Tuesday, the Albuquerque Police Department reminded both locations of the order which resulted in them both closing.

APD noted that it did not single these stores out but that officers were directed to keep an eye on establishments now covered by the state’s extended order.

Some people were still able to shop in the store before it closed. “I think the governor is just trying to be safe. And you know, whatever she thinks is right for the state. I’m going to go along with it. I’m just trying to stock up before they close,” said another Total Wine customer.

Even though alcohol is still available at grocery stores, people filled the Total Wine parking lot near Uptown Monday after the order was announced.

Neither Total Wine locations received any citations for opening Tuesday. The city of Albuquerque also commented on the issue Tuesday. Mayor Tim Keller says liquor stores would need to devote at least 50% of their space to food items to be considered a grocery store.

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