March 17 Morning Rush: City council votes to give mayor emergency powers

Albuquerque News

1 The Albuquerque City Council has passed the ordinance giving Mayor Tim Keller the power to declare a public health emergency. This allows the mayor to invoke specific powers like setting a curfew, closing streets, daycares, and places of “mass assembly” like theaters and clubs. According to the Albuquerque Journal, Councilor Benton introduced two successful amendments to give the mayor broad power to require retailers to limit sales of medical, health and sanitation items to each customer per day. Some are worried one item would infringe on the Second Amendment and there were concerns that it was a closed meeting. The public was allowed to email, fax, or hand-deliver their comments to councilors before the meeting. Councilors say the closed meeting was an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Full story: City council votes to give mayor emergency powers

2. Local companies are trying to help during the coronavirus outbreak. PNM, the New Mexico Gas Company, and Albuquerque’s Water Utility Authority are all temporarily suspending disconnects. PNM has also announced it will create programs to help people catch up on their bills. The companies are asking people to pay their bills online or over the phone for now, although the in-person payment centers will remain open. Comcast is also giving customers a break on bills and service.

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3. The annual pilgrimages to Chimayo and Tome Hill are postponed due to COVID-19. For more than 200 years, thousands of New Mexicans and visitors join together to pray and worship on Good Friday before Easter Sunday. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe says it made the difficult decision to postpone those events out of an abundance of caution. The pilgrimages are postponed until the state lifts the coronavirus directives.

Full story: Archdiocese of Santa Fe postpones Santuario de Chimayo, Tome Hill Pilgrimages amid coronavirus concerns

4. Eastern New Mexico is waking up with messy weather this morning. There is dense fog along the eastern state line, and a Dense Fog Advisory is in effect until 10 AM. Showers and thunderstorms are moving across southeast NM this morning, where overnight temperatures are very mild. Scattered showers and storms will be possible in eastern and southern New Mexico through this evening. The rest of the state will stay dry with partly to mostly cloudy skies.

Full story: Erica’s Tuesday Morning Forecast

5. With events being canceled all over the Albuquerque area, the website ABQToDo doesn’t have much to advertise. Instead, they’re celebrating the pets in people’s lives who are probably thrilled their humans are staying in. The site has started a Twitter threat inviting people working from home to post photos of your coworkers whether they be furry, scaly, or purring.

Full story: ‘ABQtodo’ invites people working from home to tweet their pet photos

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