New "Outdoor Use Area' permit in Roswell not compliant with public health order | KOB 4

New "Outdoor Use Area' permit in Roswell not compliant with public health order

New "Outdoor Use Area' permit in Roswell not compliant with public health order

KOB Web Staff
Created: July 31, 2020 06:22 PM

ROSWELL, N.M.- The City of Roswell announced they will implement a new “Temporary Outdoor Use Area” permit that will allow restaurants to operate indoors Thursday.

“What we mean is by opening doors and windows and certain areas, you can mimic the outside. The ventilation is the same. The outside air is not going through HVAC stuff,” said Roswell Community Development director, Bill Morris. “I understand there’s always the concern about the public safety; we think that you can accommodate both.”


In a news release, the city says:

“It will allow a portion of the indoor space to be deemed outdoor space if designated windows and doors remain open during operating hours. This is a no-fee permit that requires only a single-page application. Each application will be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration factors that may be specific to individual restaurants.”

According to the state, it does not fall in compliance with the public health orders and is prohibited.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham addressed the matter during Thursday’s press conference.

“I don’t see in what universe they can change the definition of indoor versus outdoor, and we will enforce, and we have been enforcing,” she said.

Statement from the New Mexico Environment Department:

“Our stance on this is simple: inside is not outside. The state’s COVID-Safe Practices provide explicit guidance on what permissible outdoor dining looks like, and it’s worth noting that many New Mexico restaurants have gone to extraordinary lengths to make safe outdoor dining available to customers. The Food Service Sanitation Act (NMSA 1978, Section 25-1-9) authorizes NMED to immediately suspend a food service permit from an establishment if “conditions within a food service establishment present a substantial danger of illness, serious physical harm or death to consumers who might patronize the food service establishment.” That’s exactly what is occurring when restaurants choose to provide indoor dining in violation of the state public health orders.”

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