City Councilors Propose Legislation Directing the Mayor to Evaluate and Amend Public Health Orders Requiring Broad Closures of Business and Facilities

Resolution R-40-20 co-sponsored by Councilor Don Harris and Councilor Brook Bassan.

April 26, 2020

Today, City Councilors Don Harris and Brook Bassan announced they are proposing legislation to the Albuquerque City Council that calls on Mayor Tim Keller to evaluate and amend, as appropriate, the public health orders that have required broad business and facility closures across the city in response to the statewide public health emergency. 

“As necessary as the initial public health orders may have been, the economic, social, cultural, and recreational interests of the residents of Albuquerque have suffered immensely as a result of the ordered closures. These impacts have been especially hard on the city’s small businesses and service workers and we want to work with the Mayor’s office to reevaluate the closure of non-essential businesses,” said Councilor Harris.

Both the State and city public health orders are currently in place through May 15. Albuquerque is situated as New Mexico’s only major metropolitan area and serves as the state’s central economic, retail, and services hub.

The proposed resolution is in direct response to the downward economic impact due to Covid19-related closures. State and city public health emergency orders allow national chain stores and big-box retailers to sell “non-essential” products. Local businesses offering similar “non-essential” products have been closed.

Outdoor activities facilities, such as city golf courses, are also currently closed under the public health emergency orders.

“Methods such as 20% occupancy levels, wearing masks, and maintaining six-foot social distances should be acceptable to allow our city’s small businesses and outdoor facilities to open safely. Many will be willing to do this, both as businesses and patrons, if it means we can safely restart our local economy. Also, allowing for non-emergency procedures that are necessary to detect, diagnose, and treat potentially life-threatening illnesses is incredibly important for our long-term health and well-being,” said Councilor Bassan.

The resolution requests the Mayor immediately analyze whether a distinction between essential and non-essential businesses continues to be necessary to promote the desired health and safety outcomes, or if social distancing measures could adequately serve as suitable alternatives to the mandated closures of only certain businesses including outdoor activities facilities.

The resolution also asks the mayor to immediately analyze the necessity of the continued ban on non-emergency medical procedures

The proposed resolution will be introduced to City Council on May 4th, 2020 at 5:00pm.