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City Continues Targeted Enforcement Efforts of Public Health Order

City, NMDOH partner with private vendor to expand testing in the metro

Nov. 23, 2020

Over the last seven days, City of Albuquerque compliance officials conducted 278 compliance interactions with businesses and individuals regarding the State- and City-enacted Public Health Orders (PHO). That pushes the total compliance interactions, which include warnings, notices of violation, and/or citations, to more than 1,000 in November.

The enforcement team continues to visit big box and grocery stores to ensure they are complying with the PHO measures designed to prevent hoarding of essential items and providing special hours for seniors and other high-risk individuals. Big box stores including Staples, Office Max, and Conn’s Furniture were given notices of violation, and were later found to have changed their practices to be in compliance as a result of the enforcement action. This past week, officials also visited non-essential businesses and provided education on the PHO if they were found to be open. This included a visit to Crunch Fitness on Juan Tabo NE, which was cited by APD officers, and the violation was referred to New Mexico State Police to determine if further enforcement measures were needed.

At a briefing Monday, Fire Marshal Gene Gallegos said, “Over the weekend we visited over 100 stores focusing on non-essential businesses, big box stores, food courts and essential businesses. We are out there making sure that [businesses] are in compliance and if not we are calling APD or state police out there to cite them.”

With Thanksgiving this week, and Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s right around the corner, Albuquerque is entering a critical stage for controlling the spread of the virus.

Recent spikes in cases have tightened the gap between Albuquerque and cities that we had been outperforming earlier in the pandemic, and the holidays will put the city to the test.

At today’s briefing, Mayor Tim Keller said, “The biggest threat we face when it comes to controlling the virus is our own apathy and fatigue,” state Mayor Keller. COVID is worse than it’s ever been, but somehow folks are taking it less seriously. We have to dig deep, especially when it comes to taking risks around the holidays.”

The City and NM Department of Health are also partnering to expand testing in the metro area, reopening a testing site at Balloon Fiesta Park. Beginning today, Monday, November 23, NMDOH has contracted with Curative, a research company in California, to provide free COVID-19 testing via a saliva sample rather than a nasal swab.

Testing will run daily from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., except for Thanksgiving Day. Appointments are required and can be made at https://curative.com. Those being tested should be prepared to present their test confirmation ID at the testing site.

To access the testing site, vehicles should enter Balloon Fiesta Park through the northeast gate off of Balloon Fiesta Parkway. Take the southbound frontage road along I-25 from Tramway and turn right on to Balloon Fiesta Parkway. Drive until you reach the northeast gates to Balloon Fiesta Park.

The Balloon Fiesta Park testing location is the third COVID testing location the City has partnered with NMDOH to create. Other testing locations are available at EXPO New Mexico and the Ted M. Gallegos Community Center in the Southwest Mesa. For more information on testing locations visit https://cvprovider.nmhealth.org/directory.html.

The Department of Health recommends individuals stay home after testing to await their results so as not to inadvertently spread the virus. For information on testing and isolation guidelines visit cv.nmhealth.org.