ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Now that the majority of the state is in the Turquoise Level, community events have started picking back up this weekend. From markets to community service projects and visiting the zoo, locals are enjoying more time outside.
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At the Downtown Growers’ Market, vendor Ava del Cielo said the market events have already become much busier than last year. “We struggled last year because of COVID, but I think people are ready to come out. It pairs nicely with the fact that farmers are always here and they’re ready to sell and ready to have support. So, I think it goes hand-in-hand pretty nicely,” del Cielo said.
For shoppers like Amanda Schmidt, they feel a shift in the city now that more people feel safe to come out again. “Last year, people would just get what they need and walk to their cars really fast. It’s nice to see everyone really engaging, and smiling at one another. I feel like people feel safer and so they’re able to really interact, even if it’s just making eye contact with people. It feels more peaceful,” Schmidt said.
The Growers’ Market occurs every Saturday at Robinson Park from 8 a.m. to noon. This Saturday marked the first day that the market could operate from 50% capacity to 100%.
Just west of the market, volunteers were working on cleaning up their neighborhoods as part of the City of Albuquerque’s Cleanup Month. The initiative is part of the city’s monthlong Earth Day celebration as an effort to ‘Keep Burque Clean.’
Nancy Singer and John and Suzanne Horning spent the morning cleaning up trash and clearing sidewalks. “This is a walking neighborhood, so I’d like to have a nice place to walk,” Singer said.
Stephanie Elliott, volunteer coordinator for her neighborhood, said she saw an increase in volunteers for this weekend’s cleanup event. “I think people are looking for any excuse to get outside and see people, even if it means you’re picking up trash. We have a really great community here and we love doing stuff together and now that we’re in Turquoise, you feel a little bit like that weight has been lifted, like you don’t have to be as concerned with restrictions and everything,” Elliott said.
The next quadrant cleanup event will take place on May 15 from 8 a.m. to noon. Those who are interested in participating in the event and in the Northwest quadrant of Albuquerque must register by May 12.
Now that the weather is warmer, parents and families were once again rushing to the Albuquerque BioPark. Many brought their children to experience the park for the first time. Angelica Martinez said her daughter was born over quarantine, and this is his first public outing. “This is her first time going anywhere. We haven’t gone to grocery stores or anything, so it’s nice to get her out,” Martinez said.
Bridget Hazen’s daughter had her second and third birthday during quarantine, and was excited to create some memories outside of the house. “She hasn’t gotten to have many zoo experiences, so we’ve been very eager. She loved it. The weather is great and was just the perfect zoo day,” Hazen said.
The BioPark Aquarium will reopen May 12. Those who purchase tickets will be given a window of time to show up in order to maintain social distancing guidelines.