NM business community worried continued restrictions will lead to more closures | KOB 4

NM business community worried continued restrictions will lead to more closures

Brittany Costello
Updated: July 31, 2020 06:13 PM
Created: July 31, 2020 04:45 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham encouraged New Mexicans to spend the month of August helping slow the spread of COVID-19.

"We're doing better at this gradual approach," she said.

Her public health order was extended-- with few changes.

The business community is concerned continued restrictions will cause more job losses and hurt the economy.

"The last report I saw-- we're very close to 400 businesses having closed permanently, and I think this last 30-day extension is going to be devastating for so many more businesses," said Carla Sonntag, president of the New Mexico Business Coalition. "It's very concerning."
Sonntag said the small business loans that the governor announced Thursday will offer some help. However, she notes that the money will still have to be paid back. 

"New Mexico can eventually, we usually do, come back out, but it's going to be so very difficult," Sonntag said. "It's going to be compounded because we don't have the gross receipts, we don't have the money going to the local municipalities that need the money, we're still suffering from the slow down of the oil and gas industry so financially the state is in a very precarious situation."

Some businesses owners have expressed their support for the governors precautions and closures.

"I think the governor's doing a great job. I think she's doing the best for the people of New Mexico," said Ben Michael Barreras, owner of the restaurant Ben Michael's.

But for many others, the restrictions are creating animosity and litigation.

The New Mexico Restaurant Association is suing the governor and Health Department over the public health orders.

The lawsuit is now in the hands of the New Mexico Supreme Court.

"Anybody that's considering coming to New Mexico is going to see this very contentious relationship right now between the administration, and as I said, between business, and no one is going to win," Sonntag said.

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