Updated: October 21, 2020 05:07 PM
Created: October 21, 2020 03:50 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller announced Wednesday that the city will be taking new steps to help control the spread of COVID-19.
Keller said the Albuquerque Police Department will increase enforcement of the state's public health order. Noncompliance with the order could result in a citation.
“We still have been doing interactions for enforcement, 147 of those in the last seven days," Keller said. "And over the month of October, we’ve had 351 educational interactions across issues from face mask wearing to social distancing to indoor seating to occupancy load.”
According to the city, it responded to 19 occupancy issues. In October, the number has risen to 32.
"So we know that’s become an issue," Keller said. "The weather is impacting outside dining.”
Violations of the public health order could be considered a misdemeanor, which comes with a $100 dollar fine and could escalate to six months in jail or both.
Businesses could also receive a $5,000 fine.
"We are working on, with our state partners, on a targeted enforcement blitz, probably this weekend," Keller said. "Like any sort of blitz operation, like DWIs, we don’t want to share all those specific details, but we are going to let you know we are going to be drastically ramping up enforcement.”
Keller also reminded young people to avoid gathering in crowds or parties.
“We all remember high school and college, but this is an example of the kind of thing that’s happening in Albuquerque," Keller said. "These sort of COVID parties. This is a dangerous idea.”
While state officials are encouraging people to stay home, and have shut down state-run museums and historical cites, Keller said Albuquerque-run museums and the ABQ BioPark will remain open. He said they will continue to ensure COVID-safe practices will be implemented to keep everyone safe.
Albuquerque's Westside Homeless Shelter continues to deal with an outbreak. According to the city, 125 residents and five staff members have been infected with COVID-19.
The shelter is closed to incoming people while current residents are tested and isolated.
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