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New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham enacted the state's Riot Control Act in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Las Cruces Sun-News

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GALLUP — The city of Gallup will remain under a lockdown for most of this week, as the city continues to try to mitigate transmission of the coronavirus.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham extended the closure on May 3, after a request to continue the city's state of emergency was made by Mayor Louis Bonaguidi.

The city borders the Navajo Nation and has been under a lockdown since noon on May 1, closing all roads into the municipality and mandating business closures from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m.

That order was scheduled to end at noon on May 4, and is now extended to noon on May 7, according to a May 3 press release from the governor's office.

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"The emergency declaration closes all roads into Gallup, limited business hours, restricted how many individuals could travel in a car at once and directed Gallup residents to remain at home except for emergency outings," the release states.

Bonaguidi requested that businesses close at 8 p.m. rather than 5 p.m. during the extension. Lujan Grisham granted that.

Gallup is in McKinley County, which had 1,144 positive cases of COVID-19 as of May 3, the New Mexico Department of Health reported.

The surge in individuals being diagnosed with the disease alarmed city, state and tribal officials in recent weeks.

"This request is being made as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak in our community, which constitutes an unprecedented health crisis," Bonaguidi wrote in his May 3 letter.

He added that COVID-19 has caused several deaths, has stretched medical facilities as well as resources and has adversely impacted the city's welfare.

Bonaguidi said on May 2 that he was not sure if he would seek an extension.

"I'm trying to wait for the reaction of the people. Basically, to find out if it's worth an extension or not. But let me tell you, in emails people are telling me, 'yes, extend it.' It's not a decision that I'm going to make alone," he said in the interview.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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