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Mayor Keller Declares Local Public Health Emergency Due to COVID-19

Directs resources to response and recovery, allows City to tap into State and Federal Funding

March 18, 2020

Today, Mayor Tim Keller declared a local public health emergency (video available on YouTube and downloadable on Dropbox) due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19, joining dozens of states and local governments, including the City of Rio Rancho, that are dedicating additional resources to an outbreak the World Health Organization has formally designated as a global pandemic.

The emergency declaration (attached) allows the City to direct funds for the coronavirus response and request additional resources from the state and federal government.

“We are continuing to take action to slow the spread of the coronavirus and help the most vulnerable folks in our community,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “Like many mayors across the nation, declaring this public health emergency declaration gives us the tools to allocate resources to immediate needs and tap into additional funds for recovery and response.”

This declaration does not:

  • Limit the sale or transfer of firearms
  • Prohibit the sale of liquor
  • Close streets
  • Declare a curfew

Yesterday, Mayor Keller convened a series of virtual meetings with public safety officials, business leaders and the Volunteers Advisory Board to discuss the state of the public health emergency in Albuquerque. He did emphasize that while there are many blessings that come with being the largest metropolitan area in roughly 1,000 square miles, it also means that we have by far the most connectivity and density in the region through our shopping malls, airport, hospitals and other large facilities. Thus, going forward the City may have to have stronger restrictions than the rest of the state, and other New Mexico cities, in the near future.

The best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to practice proactive social distancing. It is crucial that the public avoid large gatherings, order food from restaurants to-go, work from home and stay home in general if at all possible. The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu, with fever, coughing, and trouble breathing. The City is urging those who believe they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 to call the New Mexico Department of Health at 855-600-3453.

The latest information on City facilities, programs and events will be continuously updated here:

Yesterday, Mayor Keller signed the public health emergency powers provisions, O-20-4, which was passed at Monday’s City Council meeting. Previous to passage, the Mayor already had general emergency powers that can be used in this, or other general emergency situations, for a 48 hour period. This new provision only provides specifically for “public health” situations.

View the Emergency Declaration View an ADA Accessible version of the Emergency Declaration