While many places are tightening up on Covid restrictions – including LA Country closing all restaurants and bars again, Minnesota banning all gatherings with anyone outside of your home, and Washington State re-closing indoor dining and gyms – New Mexico is going even further. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has now ordered multiple essential businesses in the state, including at least a dozen grocery stores, to close. The move has severely limited the ability of residents in certain areas to obtain food, and in others has caused up to two-hour waits to obtain supplies. Grisham argues that the only closures are those of businesses with four or more confirmed positive Covid cases in the past 14-days. The move has sparked controversy.
The Right strongly disapproves of the decision. Larry Behrens of energy advocacy group Power the Future stated, “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. The fact she will keep cashing her taxpayer-funded paycheck while her constituents stand in line for food should surprise no one.” After multiple photos of long lines surfaced, one group responded:
“The spokesperson for @GovMLG said the idea of people being forced to stand in line was a ‘Republican talking point’ & ‘politically motivated.’ Hey, MLG: Visit any grocery store in NM & then tell all those people in line that they are just ‘Republican talking points.’ Shameful.”Republican Party of New Mexico
Political activist and comedian Tim Young tweeted, “By shutting down grocery stores, the New Mexico governor has determined that food is no longer essential because people are getting colds. She wants America to turn into Venezuela as quickly as possible.”
They keep giving lockdown orders that they promised us at the beginning they’d never give, and taking actions that they assured us were far too extreme, no matter what— Buck Sexton (@BuckSexton) November 25, 2020
But there is a momentum to tyranny https://t.co/wijvkJ2HcX
The Left has defended the move. Despite criticism, Grisham has stood by her order, stating, “You can’t have a grocery store or another big box store that sells groceries if all of the employees or the vast majority of them have COVID. You can’t open up. And that’s the issue…There’s so much of this infection that it’s inside the very places people need to access.” She added that the only closures would be in areas with “considerable alternatives.” At least two organizations in New Mexico have created programs in which essential businesses can participate in order to avoid the two-week closure periods if four of their employees test positive. The measures include contact tracing and “100 percent employee testing” on the regular. “It’s a fairly easy agreement. You develop your plan and you’re in,” stated Environment Secretary James Kenney.