ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – One of Albuquerque’s newest businesses was reveling in its grand opening this March. That all changed when the coronavirus struck New Mexico.
“We officially opened our doors on March 1, that was our grand opening weekend and we went one whole week to the following Saturday, and we closed down the following Sunday,” said Daniel James Chavez, owner of Revel.
Revel, an entertainment and dining complex near Montano and I-25, includes multiple restaurants, as well as a sports bar and Uptown Funk Dueling Piano Bar. Chavez also has a concert hall under construction on the back-end of the property, which originally was set to open early summer.
Once large gatherings were limited, Revel had no choice but to close, leaving many of its new employees without jobs.
“I really started thinking about during that whole week that we were open, what could possibly be the ramifications of what was going on,” said Chavez. “On Sunday morning when I woke up, I realized that we were in a different world. The governor made the announcement a couple of days later so at that point, we were already kind of geared up. I called my staff in on Monday and told them all what was going on. At that point, decided to go ahead and start with the layoff process, something that in a million years would’ve never thought would happen.”
Chavez also owns NRG Services, a live production company operating in a number of states. He says that industry is hit just as hard.
“In 35 years, never experienced anything like this. From being a veteran in a business that was drastically affected by this, having to layoff hundreds of employees, as well,” said Chavez. “It feels no different whether I was open one week or 35 years. It’s devastating.”
Revel isn’t the only new Albuquerque company taking a hit. Sawmill Market also opened this month and already had to transition its restaurants to curbside service.
Chavez says in the meantime, he’s working on budgets and hopes to be able to rehire the same staff and provide a source of entertainment once social distancing efforts are lifted.
“Hopefully the economy can withstand what happened now and people will have the expendable income to go out and have a good time,” said Chavez.
The governor’s order closing non-essential businesses is expected to last until at least April 10, unless the state decides to extend it. On Sunday, President Trump extended social distancing guidelines until at least April 30.