State of New Mexico prepares to relax some business restrictions


LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO (KTSM) – With El Paso and the state of Texas beginning its phased reopening of the economy on Friday, New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham announced a plan on Thursday to relax some restrictions on businesses that had been in place since COVID-19 initially hit the Land of Enchantment.

“I think it’s a good move and very prudent,” Las Cruces mayor Ken Miyagishima told KTSM. “It’s wise to do it slowly. You don’t want to overburden the system or see any big spikes.”

Currently there are over 3,400 cases of coronavirus in New Mexico, 144 In Dona Ana County. Miyagishima said he’s not sure if the plan Texas is implementing had anything to do with New Mexico changing course.

“The data Governor Abbott is looking at is different than the data Governor Lujan-Grisham is looking at. I think they both have their constituents safety in mind,” he said.

The governor extended New Mexico’s “Stay At Home” order until May 15, but there will be big changes.

Beginning Friday, nonessential retailers can begin curbside pickup, similar to what has occurred in El Paso the last few weeks. Additionally, state parks will reopen on a limited basis.

Golf courses will be open for golf only; none of the restaurants will open. Veterinarian clinics can resume operations and gun stores will operate by appointment only.

Lujan-Grisham said she hoped the state could reopen bars and restaurants at 50% capacity by mid-May. If that happens, retailers and malls could open at 20% capacity and gyms, salons, churches and hotels could also operate in a limited setting that includes social distancing.

Las Cruces residents want the state to be careful with any decisions made to reopen the state.

“I think with proper precautions it’s a step in the right direction,” said local business owner Jeremiah Richardson. “Test the waters and see happens.”

With El Paso set to reopen some businesses, on Thursday morning, Mayor Miyagishima made headlines with a social media plea to las cruces residents

“I’m going ask if you could refrain from going to El Paso for the next couple weeks,” he said in a video published to social media.

However, with New Mexico slowly beginning its own reopening, Miyagishima later backed off that message.

“(With New Mexico opening some businesses) it’s kind of a moot point. If they need to shop they can do some here now. That was my only concern,” Miyagishima said.

If New Mexico’s relaxed restrictions go well, Lujan-Grisham said more businesses could open up in two weeks. They’ll re-assess ahead of may 15, the next potential date New Mexico’s “Stay At Home” order could expire.

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