State business coalition lays out framework for reopening businesses | KOB 4

State business coalition lays out framework for reopening businesses

Brittany Costello
Updated: April 14, 2020 11:20 PM
Created: April 14, 2020 10:36 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —The New Mexico Business Coalition has been looking into ways to get businesses up and running safely.  NMBC President Carla Sonntag said they have a plan to do just that.

The organization sent their plan to the governor’s office, hoping to get a conversation started. Sonntag said businesses are drowning, and need something to plan like a date that could provide a light at the end of the tunnel.

“People around the state are just wringing their hands asking someone to do something, and honestly I haven’t slept in a week, thinking about ‘OK, what can we do?’” she said.

Sonntag said the new plan is a framework to get New Mexico business and its employees up and running.  It starts right away, by opening businesses that can operate under the current guidelines—20% capacity. 

“When you look at all the goods and items that can be purchased in a big box store, for example, why could we not purchase those locally? If we were to do that, we would get more businesses open,” said Sonntag. “We would get more people back to work.”

Sonntag said the real re-opening of businesses happens two weeks after the moving target of the “peak.”

In May, businesses and outdoor recreational facilities should reopen, and operate at half capacity. Then, in mid-May, those businesses increase capacity, and do the same in June. However, all of it is contingent on there being no significant increase in COVID-19 cases.

“I think that it is safer for society in general to have a plan to move incrementally into opening businesses rather than to do from shut one day to open the next,” said Sonntag. “I think that’s where we could run into problems.”

Over the last few days, the Governor has expressed concern in opening businesses too quickly.  In an op-ed published this morning in the Albuquerque Journal, she said opening too soon could cause a trickle effect: “More people will get sick, our system will be overwhelmed, we will likely be forced to shut down again,” the governor said.

Monday, the New Mexico GOP announced a push to reopen businesses, but state Democrats responded by saying it’s too soon.

KOB  4 reached out to the governor’s office to see if they’ve reviewed this idea, but they did not get back before this story was aired.


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