The Associated Press
Updated: May 04, 2020 10:30 AM
Created: May 04, 2020 10:29 AM
EUNICE, N.M. (AP) — Another small city in New Mexico is reopening Monday despite a statewide health order to keep nonessential businesses closed to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Eunice City Manager Jordan Yutzy said the city sent Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham a letter outlining a proposal for three phases to gradually reopen businesses and asked for a response by April 30. The city never got a response so it’s moving ahead with plans to open the library, youth center and activity center.
“If businesses in town wish to reopen, the city will not shut them down unless they are violating the plan laid out in the resolution sent to the governor,” Yutzy wrote, while also encouraging people to follow social distancing guidelines.
The city of Grants allowed businesses to reopen last week, prompting warnings and fines from New Mexico State Police.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Gallup requested an extension of an emergency declaration for his city, one of the largest communities bordering the Navajo Nation, where the surging coronavirus outbreak already has prompted widespread restrictions and weekend lockdowns.
The governor will formalize the extension Monday, meaning businesses will have to close between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. and residents are being directed to stay at home except for emergency outings. The order also involves road closures and limits to how many people can travel in a vehicle at once.
The order will remain in effect through noon Thursday.
New Mexico has reported 3,850 cases of COVID-19. Of those, health officials say 1,144 have been in McKinley County, where Gallup is located.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
The potential for spread in the state’s prison populations has prompted the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and public defenders to ask the state to do more to protect inmates. The New Mexico Supreme Court is scheduled Monday afternoon to hear their arguments for a petition to expand the release of some inmates from state prisons.
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