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Mayor Keller Provides Update on Local Response to Coronavirus: Prioritizes City Resources for Those Most in Need

City services, facilities, programs and events tailored to increase social distancing and meet the needs of seniors, children and families

March 13, 2020

Today, Mayor Tim Keller updated City employees and Albuquerque residents on the continuing changes to City services, facilities, programs and events.

Mayor Keller said, “Albuquerque is no stranger to facing challenges, and we know that we’ve got to face them head on and get through it together. We’re tailoring our resources to promote social distancing and provide critical services to those in need. As things move quickly with the closures coming down from the state, the necessary changes are going to take all of us and we’re stepping up in the areas where vulnerable people need it most. The bottom line is, stay home if you can. We know that not everyone has that choice or ability and we’re making sure seniors and kids get the meals they need and our first responders are out on the frontlines keeping people safe. We are mobilized for the coronavirus response.” 

The City is following all orders from the State of New Mexico Department of Health, adapting its services to promote social distancing, and is using enhanced cleaning for all facilities and services.

The City will continually update the public on operations across its various departments as changes occur.

Citywide

  • Activating City Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center to coordinate with local and state government agencies and institutions.
  • Banning non-essential out-of-state travel for all employees.
  • Encouraging City employees to use teleconferencing and email to replace face-to-face meetings.
  • Postponing Board and Commission meetings until after April 15.
  • Enhancing cleaning measures for all facilities and services that are operating.

Public Safety

  • Increased presence of Albuquerque Police Department and Albuquerque Fire Rescue throughout the community.
  • Prioritizing continuity of critical public safety services, with City first responders ready and prepared to serve and lead the local response.
  • Participating in national networks of emergency medical providers through Albuquerque Police and Fire to share information, expertise, and knowledge.
  • Initiating continuity plans for the 311 Call Center operations, including having agents take calls remotely if needed and address questions.

Youth

The City encourages everyone who is able to stay home with their children to do so. However, many children in the community need a place to be safe and receive meals.

  • Health and Social Service Centers will remain open to provide critical services.
  • Family and Community Services will host programs for children run from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm at all community centers and will offer meals to children. Programs are limited to 45 students per community center and registration is required. Community centers will be closed to the general population.
  • Head Start and Early Head Start programs, also called Child Development Centers, will be operational.
  • Spring break programs will be operating and will be extended by an additional week. They will begin March 23 through April 3. These programs are limited to a set number of students and registration is required.
  • APS Playground Recreation programs at APS facilities are canceled while schools are closed.
  • APS is offering meals to all youth under age 18 at all schools from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, Monday through Friday through April 9.

Facilities/Public Events

The City encourages everyone who is able to stay home to do so.

  • All City and County libraries will be closed through April 15.
  • City pools and aquatic centers will be closed through April 15.
  • The City is closing the café and indoor exhibits at the BioPark through April 15. The outdoor exhibits will remain open until further notice. The BioPark is the aquarium, botanical gardens, zoo, Tingley Beach and Heritage Farm.
  • Indoor cultural facilities including the Albuquerque Museum, Explora, Balloon Fiesta Park, Casa San Isidro, are closed through April 15, except for limited registration programming.
  • The City is cancelling all events booked by third parties in indoor City facilities through April 15.
  • Outdoor activities in City Parks, Open Space and outdoor athletic facilities can continue if they do not exceed the State’s public health order, until further notice.

Transportation

The City encourages everyone who is able to stay home to do so.

Albuquerque Sunport

  • Following all federal guidelines and policies related to airport operations.
  • The Sunport’s custodial staff has increased cleaning and sanitation of high-touchpoint public areas, added additional cleaning of restroom facilities, and is continually monitoring and filling public hand sanitizer stations.
  • The Sunport has ensured that cleaning products utilized throughout the terminal are on the EPA’s list of recommended disinfectants.
  • As the situation continues to evolve, airline flight schedules may change or be reduced, effecting flights into and out of the Sunport. As such, passengers are encouraged to contact their airline directly for information pertaining to upcoming flights.
  • The Sunport has a continuity of operation plan in place to take any necessary action to protect the welfare of travelers and employees of the Sunport. Officials will continue to monitor the situation and work with federal, state, and local agencies to determine any necessary action.
  • The Sunport is encourage people to pick up arriving passengers outside of the terminal.

ABQ RIDE Bus Service and Sun Van

  • ABQ RIDE is using a comprehensive approach to keep fixed route and Sun Van riders and drivers as safe as possible.
  • Service is running as normal, and ABQ RIDE is reminding riders to frequently wash their hands, cough into their sleeves, and call the NMDOH hotline if you feel you have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • ABQ RIDE increased nightly cleaning and sanitation of each bus and Sun Van, bringing in 10 additional temporary staff to assist with that workload.
  • ABQ RIDE will place new information about any service changes or updates on its message monitors at ART platforms, push notices on the ABQ RIDE App, ABQ RIDE website, Text2Ride service, social media platforms, and signs on fare boxes on the buses. 311 is also a great resource for people looking for information.

Senior Affairs

The City encourages seniors who can stay home to do so. However, many seniors in the community need a place to receive services and meals.

Recreation and Fitness

  • Senior, Multigenerational and 50+ Fitness Centers remain open for seniors who need them for services including meals. However, all events at these centers have been canceled or postponed. Those events include: Bingo, flea markets, dances, and special events.
  • Additionally, many smaller events and activities at Senior Affairs are volunteer-led and some of those organizations and individuals have elected to postpone or cancel, including Silver Horizons Food Pantry. Seniors are encouraged to contact their Senior Center or group representative to check the status of an activity.

Tax Preparation Services

  • Most Senior Affairs Centers are still honoring tax appointments; however, walk-in tax preparation at Barelas Senior Center provided by the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, has been postponed until at least April 6, due to a volunteer shortage.

Transportation

  • Transportation, Care Coordination and the Senior Information Line (505-764-6400) are all operating as usual.

“We should all be taking enhanced preventive measures at this time, including practicing personal health hygiene and minimizing your activities in public spaces to reduce potential exposure,” said Environmental Health Director, Ryan Mast. “We urge those who believe they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 to call the New Mexico Department of Health at 855-600-3453. This is the number to call for inquiries. 911 should be used for medical emergencies only. Trained experts at this hotline will determine whether medical attention is needed, and provide direction.”

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu with fever, coughing, and trouble breathing. The virus is spread person to person through respiratory droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. The City is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation.

The Mayor is also reminding all Albuquerque residents that discrimination is against the law and should be reported to the City of Albuquerque Office of Civil Rights. Stigma and xenophobia will drive suspected cases underground and aid the further spread of the virus. Avoid spreading misinformation. Speak up if you hear, see or read misinformation or harassment. Show compassion and support for those impacted by stigma.

“Coronavirus does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, or any other demographic factors, and neither should we,” continued Mayor Keller.

The hoarding of cleaning supplies, soap, food and water or other basic goods is also inappropriate and detrimental to the community’s ability to respond as needed to this crisis.

Last month, Mayor Keller assembled City of Albuquerque officials and representatives from various regional agencies to coordinate and respond to COVID-19.

Stay up to date with current Coronavirus FAQs and any future changes to City scheduling at: https://www.cabq.gov/environmentalhealth/news/city-of-albuquerque-coronavirus-faqs.