New Mexico’s Democratic governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has issued a public health order that closes a dozen grocery stores across her state despite the fact that residents are currently suffering through record unemployment and food instability.
Grisham’s order shuts down businesses for two weeks that have had four or more rapid responses of coronavirus cases reported over the course of fourteen days, according to The Center Square. Over 25 essential businesses have been shut down since this order went into effect, including a dozen grocery stores.
Businesses that have been closed “include two Walmarts in Albuquerque and one in Santa Fe, an Albertson’s in Roswell, a Smiths Food & Drug Center in Albuquerque and New Mexico Food Distribution Center in Albuquerque.”
Grisham’s office defended the order in a statement to KOB4 News TV:
“There is no community in the state of New Mexico where COVID-19 closures have closed off all food and water or medicine options for any community or group of people. Every single community where the virus is forcing closures has alternate stores, alternate resources.”
“Moreover, stores are only ordered closed for the protection of public safety when the store’s staff members have an abundance of COVID-19 infections among them – surely you and everyone in New Mexico can agree that not one of us would like to be shopping among staff that are contagious.”
However Larry Behrens, the Western States Director for Power The Future, disagrees.
“Our state currently suffers from high unemployment brought on by the same governor who passed a controversial energy law that will kill jobs and raise electric rates,” he said. “The fact she will keep cashing her taxpayer-funded paycheck while her constituents stand in line for food should surprise no one.”
Local news reports have stated that residents of communities impacted by these closures are being forced to stand outside in line for up to two hours waiting for food. Grisham has denied this as well, saying, “The state is not forcing anyone to stand in a crowded line, as you suggest” in response to a report from KOB4 News TV.
However, John Block at Pinon Post has claimed that this allegation from the governor is “untrue and easily disprovable.” He proceeded to post photos that were taken between November 13 and November 23 showing New Mexico residents waiting on long lines outside of grocery stores with dates and time stamps.
“Upon the news that limits of 75 people inside each store, retailers pre-emptively began limiting capacities to begin compliance with the mandate,” he said.