Michael Schepps and Joe Schepps

Michael Schepps and Joe Schepps, owners of Inn on the Alameda.

With summer approaching, renovations continuing and the gardens in full bloom, the Inn on the Alameda — our temporarily shuttered family-owned hotel — looks fantastic. The property appears immaculate and ready for guests. And, if we look at Santa Fe’s apparently flattened curve, it feels like this might all be over soon.

Unfortunately, those feelings are both seductive and dangerous. Any tradeoff between a so-called reopening of the economy and protecting community health is a false one. Short-term profits derived from hasty actions could cost human lives and cause far greater long-term economic hazards.

In the absence of clear federal guidance, Santa Fe has been fortunate to have the leadership of both Mayor Alan Webber and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Their proactive, evidence-based and compassionate policies have saved lives and laid the groundwork necessary to ensure our recovery will be a strong one. As business and civic leaders, we applaud their achievements, while also acknowledging that many vulnerable individuals and communities remain at considerable risk.

There are no easy choices.

We empathize with those who want to resume normal life and business. The inn is operating with a reduced staff on zero revenue: Every day’s essential expenses are another grain of sand falling from a rapidly dwindling hourglass.

We want nothing more than to reopen and to welcome back our loyal employees and guests. We want this year, and every year, to be one where we are engaged and committed members of our community, employing dozens of excellent people with competitive wages while introducing thousands of visitors to the special pleasures of New Mexico.

But we will not do so before it is safe.

The road back to normal will be long and difficult. Businesses will have to adapt in ways that seem almost inconceivable today.

At the Inn on the Alameda, we are in constant discussion over how business can safely resume. It may require closing down wings, capping occupancy to ensure social distancing, mandating pedestrian traffic flow, increased cleaning schedules and changes to our food service.

We are committed to doing what’s right and doing it wisely.

Our business is coming back from this. Santa Fe is coming back from this. The City Different is one that survives — with over 400 years to prove it. But the path back will be easier, and our rebuild stronger, if we continue to trust the scientific consensus and value human life above the temptations of a quick fix.

Relaxing our vigilance too soon is a terrible gamble.

The hard choices made today by our state leadership will pay off dividends for generations.

Santa Fe is a tourist destination with unique advantages for a changed future. It is a one-day drive from many major cities, ensuring travelers who may initially be hesitant to board an airplane can still visit. We have a culture and history that is absolutely unique to the United States, providing significant appeal in a time of curtailed international travel.

We must be patient. Though the clouds in our immediate future seem dark and gloomy, there are silver linings. We cannot let them tarnish.

Joe and Michael Schepps are the co-owners of the Inn on the Alameda. Joe Schepps has lived in New Mexico for 50 years and Michael Schepps is a writer in Portland, Ore.

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(1) comment

Steve Crawford

Well Said!

Welcome to the discussion.

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