Shelter-in-place order returns to New Mexico amid holiday shopping season
Order will remain in effect through at least Nov. 30
- The order will impact the beginning of holiday shopping and holiday events.
- Jamie Church, the president of the Farmington Chamber of Commerce, said the next two weeks will be hard for local businesses.
- Farmington Mayor Nate Duckett also said the restrictions were not surprising, but he said they were disappointing.
AZTEC — A shelter-in-place order goes into effect on Monday, Nov. 16, and nonessential businesses in New Mexico will be forced to close their doors once again.
This announcement came Nov. 13 during the weekly COVID-19 update that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham does using Facebook live. The order will last through at least Nov. 30.
The order will impact the beginning of holiday shopping and holiday events.
Jamie Church, the president of the Farmington Chamber of Commerce, said the next two weeks will be hard for local businesses, especially restaurants and retail shops. The shutdown comes as businesses were gearing up for holiday shopping.
“It’s a blow, especially for the retailers and restaurants at this time of year as we’re moving into the busy holiday season,” Church said.
However, the announcement was not unforeseen.
“There was an expectation that there would be some restrictions put in place,” Church said.
Farmington Mayor Nate Duckett also said the restrictions were not surprising, but he said they were disappointing. He said there are more daily cases of the virus now than ever in the past.
During a call between New Mexico mayors and the governor that occurred on Nov. 12, there were mayors who pushed back on restrictions on businesses that had already undertaken efforts to operate in a COVID-19-safe manner, Duckett said.
"I certainly think there's going to be an overwhelming sense of disappointment," he said.
Duckett said he is not happy about returning to shelter in place, but the state and community must do what is necessary to protect the health-care system.
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He encouraged people to "make smart personal choices with their daily activities, with their daily hygiene" to limit the spread of the virus.
"That is the only message that matters in all of this," he said. "People have to make that choice."
That means washing hands and practicing social distancing.
Church said COVID-19 numbers have been rising, and the restrictions were not surprising. She is hopeful that after Nov. 30, San Juan County will be considered one of the places in the “green tier” that Lujan Grisham referenced.
The governor said the state will establish benchmarks and work on a county-by-county basis to implement restrictions. Counties with low rates of spread will be placed in the green tier, which will allow for more economic activity.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to move toward reopening sooner rather than later,” she said. “But it is a blow. It’s a blow to our businesses, and we had just started working on our shop local campaign.”
Duckett said the tiered approach may provide an incentive for people to take measures to limit the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, Church encouraged people to make shopping lists so that when the shelter-in-place order is lifted for San Juan County, they can go to locally owned, small businesses and purchase holiday gifts.
Church also encouraged people to shop with local businesses that offer online options.
“We can still shop local and support our local businesses, it’s just going to take a little more creativity,” she said.
Church said the chamber is working on compiling a list of local businesses that can provide curbside and online service. That list will be available on the chamber’s Facebook page next week. She said the chamber also will be releasing some creative gift ideas.
She encouraged people to try to stay positive.
"We are a resilient community, and we care about the health and safety of our friends, our family, our neighbors, our coworkers, our customers," Church said. "I think we all have health and safety as a priority."
She also encouraged people to reach out to friends and family during the next two weeks and check on how they are doing.
Duckett said this time of year is a season of giving.
"In this time of year, giving and being of service to others is more important than ever ... let's work together for the benefit of each other, let's take care of each other and find a place that we are passionate to give to one another," he said.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at email@example.com.
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