Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham had sharp words Friday afternoon for the mayor of Grants, who has vowed to allow businesses in the small city to reopen Monday — a decision that would be in direct violation of a state public health order.

“This notion that you don’t have to comply is wrong. That you can just open up businesses and not worry about public health issues is really quite frankly tantamount to opening up a public pool and having a pee section,” Lujan Grisham said in a nearly two-hour news conference.

“This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, flies in the face of every single positive, productive, evidence-based public health effort and, quite frankly, I happen to know that the county commission is incredibly upset by these directions.”

The governor warned Friday that if businesses choose to follow Mayor Martin “Modey” Hicks’ advice to defy state law by reopening Monday, they will be fined accordingly.

“And I absolutely don’t want that to occur,” Lujan Grisham said. “So I hope [the mayor] heeds all of our advice and walks back those statements.”

The governor’s statements came as another individual died Friday from complications related to COVID-19 in McKinley County, a county that neighbors Grants and is one of New Mexico’s coronavirus infection hotspots.

State health officials on Friday announced a total of six more deaths and 153 new cases of COVID-19. McKinley County, which has nearly 72,000 residents, had 67 new cases, bringing its total to 639. The rural county now has nearly as many cases as Bernalillo County, which has a population of about 679,000 and had 25 new cases, bringing its count to 651 positive tests.

Mortality is particularly high in assisted-living facilities: 45 percent of the state’s 84 deaths from the virus have stemmed from nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, Lujan Grisham said.

Acoma Pueblo Gov. Brian Vallo wrote in a letter to the governor Friday that he was “shocked and dismayed” to hear the Grants mayor intends to reopen the city for commerce Monday and allow 100 city workers to return to work.

“In my opinion, this is a reckless and irresponsible decision that poses huge risks for the Pueblo of Acoma, which is next door to the town of Grants,” Vallo wrote. “I am seeking your intervention to protect the health and welfare of tribal families and other residents at the Pueblo of Acoma.”

Vallo noted that more than 25 percent of the 426 tests for COVID-19 in Cibola County, where Grants is located, were conducted on Acoma land at Acoma-Canoncito-Laguna Hospital.

Hicks on Thursday said he urged fellow mayors during a conference hosted by the New Mexico Municipal League to follow suit and encourage businesses to open in direct defiance of public health orders meant to contain the spread of the virus.

Hicks also compared Lujan Grisham’s use of state police to the “Gestapo,” drawing a strong rebuke from the Governor’s Office and the Anti-Defamation League.

“We urge elected officials and all New Mexicans to stop using inaccurate Nazi analogies when expressing frustration and disagreement over public policy,” ADL Mountain States Regional Director Scott Levin said in a statement Friday. “The analogies demean the lives and memories of the millions who were murdered at the hands of the Nazi regime. There are better ways to engage in debate on this issue.”

Anger and frustration over Lujan Grisham’s order closing nonessential businesses are brewing in many smaller cities, villages and townships.

Aside from Grants, the town of Clayton and Union County in the far northeast corner of the state passed a resolution Thursday afternoon allowing other businesses that have been closed during the crisis to reopen.

The New Mexico Business Coalition sent a letter Thursday signed by 19 mayors, including Hicks, questioning the state’s death projection and calling on the governor to end the shutdown.

On Friday, about a dozen vocal demonstrators waved signs in protest of stay-at-home instructions outside the governor’s mansion, and about two dozen people stood in protest in Albuquerque’s Civic Plaza, accompanied by cars honking in support, a livestream of the event showed.

“Everyone is essential when it comes to their paycheck,” retired nurse Bonnie Putzig said, holding a sign that read: “open your [cartoon eyes], it’s just a flu bug.”

Across the country, demonstrations against stay-at-home orders have boiled to the surface. Many businesses opened in Georgia despite the health risks Friday after getting the Republican governor’s blessing. Republicans in New Mexico also have vented their frustration over the governor’s orders restricting commerce.

Miguel Rodriguez, born and raised in Santa Fe, said he’s not worried for his job at an auto body paint shop, but he protested Friday at the governor’s mansion anyway.

“I need to get back to my kid’s sports. I need to get back to life,” Rodriguez said. “And at the end of the day, if you believe in God and God is calling on you, it was your time.”

Pamela Miller, a ranch-sitter from Cerrillos, said her husband, who runs a limo service, was able to secure a coveted Paycheck Protection Program loan for small businesses. But she said the stay-at-home order continuing through May would hurt them financially and may wipe out other businesses altogether.

When asked about the contagious nature of COVID-19 and the danger it poses to older people or others with fragile health, Miller chalked it up to the new normal.

But polls show such demonstrators, while vocal, are likely not in the majority.

An April Quinnipiac University poll found 81 percent of voters favored a national stay-at-home order. According to a Pew Research Center Poll, 66 percent of Americans were concerned restrictions would be lifted too soon compared to the 32 percent who said restrictions would be lifted “not soon enough.” The majority view was held by people across gender, racial and income groups, as well as a majority of Democrats and Republicans polled.

During the Friday news conference, Lujan Grisham empathized with businesses on the verge of collapse after being shut down by public health orders. But the governor implored people to continue following social-distancing and stay-at-home instructions as New Mexico weathers the COVID-19 crisis. She also mentioned that a special session likely will be held the second week of June, when lawmakers are expected to make cuts to the budget they passed in February.

Of Hicks, she said he likely “meant well by saying, ‘I stand with all of the workers and business.’

“We do too,” Lujan Grisham said. “But you stand with them by keeping them safe, by following the rules and by helping us … make sure that as we go back to some degree of normalcy, including getting people back to work, that we do that in a way that protects every one of us.”

Reporter Danielle Prokop contributed to this story.

(92) comments

Jim Klukkert

Thank you AG Hector Balderas for seeking the enforcement of the Governor's lawful Public Health Orders upon Mayor Hicks and the city of Grants. The re-opening of the NM economy must flow from the best science & medical practice & knowledge, and must happen with clear and unified leadership as provided under the law.

The Governor is the one official who has the best access to that reserve, and the ONLY official lawfully empowered under US & NM Constitution and NM law. An adhoc group of conflicted leadership is a recipe for disaster.

Last I checked, all of this is way above Mayor Hicks pay grade.

Orlie Romero

Get outside, reopen business and live, quit hiding, remove the face mask and think of the country. Majority does not work for Government or live for free off taxpayers.

Think logically, if Walmart can be open and our state is still allowing movies to be made here daily why shouldn’t everyone be equal? People need to stop being so gullible, you don’t see the hierarchy in society getting fat, no haircuts or manicures and living off $1200; nope living in mansions, private hairstylist, home gyms, and lastly placing state police in ridiculous circumstances, has to be very hard, internal conflict ticketing people for proximity or running a business in a free country, it’s very disheartening.

Anyway, while you chicken $#|+$ hide I’ll be hiking or shopping in Grants!

Ted Nugent

I may be wrong, but today MLG will be giving another press conference/COVID-19 update. I bet she'll start opening up NM for business in a methodical manner under the guise of continued testing. In an odd way, we can thank Mayor Hicks for his boldness. Maybe he should be featured Time magazine person of the year! Connie Lopez-Lucero

Ted Nugent

I guess Mayor Hicks won this battle. Kudos to Mr. Hicks in a way. He stood his ground and MLG backed off. I am a staunch supporter of MLG, but a win is a win. Heck, I may even take a drive up to Grants and get my hair done! Apparently, no repercussions. Connie Lopez-Lucero

Jim Klukkert

No, no Constance! It ain't over until the fat Mayor sings, and the AG is just tuning him up now!

Sigmund Silber

If he is still walking around a free man, the Governor is not doing her job.

So that is the test. Will she do her job? He needs to be locked up. He may have violated his oath of office in which case he needs to be removed from that office and ASAP. And the Legislature needs to take a look at funding for Grants and where appropriate reduce it.

Anarchy is not the best appoach for New Mexico.

We all want this epidemic to be over but the numbers are not declining so now is not the time to take actions that lead to more illenss and death.

June Greenfield

Sigmond Silber--shes doing her job, andso is the mayor of Grants. I too, live in a small town with few cases and everything shut down and putting many people out of jobs when they really can't afford it. i can understand those counties which have high numbers and deaths shut remain shut down, but why the entire state? I opt for opening all our small business and maintaining the social distancing rules that the grocery stores are doing. Everyone is our town I am sure have been to the one large grocery which is here, and none of them have gotten the virus and none of their employees have gotten the virus, . I I say, don't treat the entire state the same as Bernallillo county, and the other counties with the high numbers. Yea, I agree with the person saying he or she may drive to Grants to get their hair done!!!

Jim Klukkert

Hector is working on the Hicks matter, to be sure.

Chuck Swaim

Our governor should arrest Mayor Martin Hicks for defying an emergency state public health order.

Al Chavez

I like the fact that for the 11-3-2020 election the craziness of "Trumpy" right is on full display: the arbitrary, anarchistic, anti-science, ethically-challenged, jingoistic, authoritarian, anti-democratic positions of these people couldn't be worse. NM is already safely blue and it needs to be in order to restore true, rational democracy to the country. Trumpers, My name is ZoZo44. You killed my democracy. Prepare to lose.

Ted Nugent

This is getting good. I think Mayor Hicks a coward in a way. I mean he's allowing all non-essential businesses in Grants, NM to open today. That's fine, but who ends up getting cited by NMSP? Answer: the small business, not Mayor Hicks. All Hicks has to say is he never forced the Grants small business to open up, just provided it as an option. I do think, however, NMSP should cite Mayor Hicks for wasting vital NMSP resources on this nonsense that Mayor hicks initiated. And please, no friendly warnings by NMSP. I mean charge him criminally. He'll be silenced. Connie Lopez-Lucero

Orlie Romero


Jim Klukkert

@Orlie Romero Is this the same Orlie Romero who confuses Influenza, which has various hit and miss vacines, with the Coronavirus which so far has none? And so now you are going to play the red-baiting card. How quaint, how 20th Century. You are a real cutie, Orlie!

Tom Hyland

For those who continue to express unbridled joy for democracy, I wish to inform you that this country is a Republic. The very definition of a Republic is: Laws Are Written. When laws are not written and when public officials start winging it... making it up... then it is anarchy. Only the Legislature can convene and create law. Executives may "order" all they want but these orders are not law. The governor has allowed big box stores such as Walmart, Home Depot, etc. to remain open. She has decreed small businesses are not vital. Tell that to the small business owner. You can go to Walmart but you can't go to church. These dictates make our governor and her colleagues appear psychopathic. This is to "protect" us from a virus which has been so miscalculated that statistics are entirely unreliable. I applaud Mayor Hicks of Grants and the other 18 towns in New Mexico who signed onto his petition. That Mayor Hicks is a Democrat is stunning. So many here have their rear ends so firmly affixed to the Democrat/Republican see saw that they think they're on the side that's winning. Let's open up for business. If you're not ready then stay home.

Jim Klukkert

Tom Hyland: According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “Every state… [has] laws authorizing quarantine and isolation… through the state’s health authority.” The Governor is within her lawful authority to issue Public Health Order during this unprecedented Pandemic, a health crisis of the first order. These Orders, though not permanent, do indeed have the force of law. The Federal government, including President Trump recognizes this. Why don’t you? Are you not paying attention? Your lack of attention carries the implication that you do not regard the threat to public health as a very serious matter, even as we approach 100 dead in New Mexico, and over 55,000 in the United States.

The definition of Anarchy is a state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority. Mayor Hicks refusing to recognize Gov. Lujan’s lawful authority is indeed, the very definition of anarchy.

Grants is very close to the four NM counties reporting the bulk of Covid cases in our state as of this writing: Sandoval (374), McKinley (720), San Juan (442), and Bernalillo (688). Grants has a strong commercial and social history with all these counties.

I would usually advocate not giving Mayor Hicks the attention he craves by advocating against his arrest. However, given Grants proximity to the above county hot spots, and Hicks refusal to recognize Gov. Lujan’s lawful authority, perhaps Hicks should be arrested.

Orlie Romero

If you arrest a citizen in a high communal disease area your contributing to non compliance social distancing as well as non agreement of releasing inmates for crimes. Let’s arrest a free speech citizen and let out the rapist or drug dealer, logic everywhere you look!

Jon Block

Death rate in US for flue is about 1 %.

Death rate in US for covid is 5.6%.

The death rate increases with age.

People in their mid 20s are dying of this new disease.

Ignore these facts at your peril. The virus does not care about your ideologies, ignorance or stupidity. If you get it and have any pre existing conditions you have better than 5% odd of ending up dead.

Emily Koyama

The covid19 death rate you're using is waaaaay off. It's going to be about the same as flu... Watch and see.

Jim Klukkert

According to WHO: “Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died. By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1% of those infected.” Death rate in Wuhan was reported to be slightly higher

Would you care to provide attributions for your claim? Or are you just speculating? Would you bet the life of your grandmother, or your own, on your calculations?

Mike Johnson

According to news reports and government officials in NY, the antibody tests showed about 2.7 million in NY were infected, and the deaths are about 22,000, you do the math.

Orlie Romero

You forgot a very important point Jim;

Flu has a vaccine. Logic missing once again.

Orlie Romero

Block, you have a 100% chance of death, my odds of death are much higher with heart issue or car accident. I’ll live free until one occurs while you already succumbed.

Jim Klukkert

Dr. Michael Johnson; “That is what democracy looks like, not one person making all the decisions by personal whim, arbitrary and capricious decisions on who can survive and who can’t…. If our state legislature had a backbone, and weren't just dictator's bootlickers, they would be doing what Michigan [Republicans] ……[are doing, creating Legislative oversight most likely opposed to the Governor’s Public Health Orders.]”

Dr. Johnson- surely you know that it is the Executive Branch, in the person of the Governor, who has the Constitutional authority to issue Public Health Orders. The fact that you do not like those Orders does not make them unlawful, arbitrary or capricious. It is one person, hopefully relying the best of scientific and medical knowledge, that makes those decisions: that’s the way our government is organized.

To your second point, the NM Legislature does have a backbone, but it is a Democratic Party Backbone, that is largely in agreement with the Governor on this issue. All of this is the result of the 2018 elections, in which the State went Blue. That is what democracy looks like!

Finally, to comment on the process in Michigan. Given the abysmal Michigan Legislative response to the Public Health Crisis centering on the Flint water system, I am not excited to hear that the Republican led Legislature is jumping into the fray.

Much of the so-called ‘popular’ movement to Re-Open Michigan is actually the result of seasoned right wing activists coordinating with Americans for Prosperity, the Dorr brothers’ Minnesota Gun Rights, the Michigan Conservative Coalition, the Michigan Freedom Fund, FreedomWorks and various “Tea Party’ organizations. The same folks who paraded the Tea Party as a ‘Grass Roots Popular Movement’ are trying to run the same scam to build discontent with Governors who actually are doing something to flatten the Pandemic Curve.

It is perfectly clear that ‘Operation Gridlock’ is a well funded and well organized national effort to gin up the Republican base as President Trump and his allies are worried that Trump’s poll numbers are falling, rather than a popular effort to build a safe way to Re-Open the Economy.

Mike Johnson

Of course those of the left wing persuasion with secure, good paying jobs (government, consulting, etc.), or retired, politically connected, elite trust babies like this area has in abundance, and those who appreciate the government controlling their lives, for various reasons, have no problem with what is going on. They can lounge around at home, without a care in the world, binge watching their favorite old TV shows and movies, cruising the internet, and can't understand why anyone would be upset and angry at the one person who has made all these unilateral decisions with no oversight or guidelines, what's not to like? Calm down, stay home save granny, you know chill out what is all this angst about careers, jobs, money, etc? You should be enjoying this work break and all the clean air.......Meanwhile the Guv lives the same idyllic life, her hair gets done, she doesn't have to go grocery shopping or stand 6 feet apart in any lines, all she has to do is issue her personal opinions and orders, and have the State Police go after anyone who argues or violates her "rules". What a life.

Jim Klukkert

Dr. Michael Johnson: You well know that I have been active in the effort to get local independent vendors back in business, and I also have a children whose businesses have been severely impacted by the Public Health Orders. I do not have the type of job you describe, and I have struggled long to make ends meet. I can understand why folks are angry as they see their efforts at making a decent wage stymied, and their way of life and the American Dream both disappearing. For all those reasons, I have worked against the Corporate Parties of Liberals and Conservartives. Clearly, I do not fit the profile you have described in your post.

Your sarcastic dismissal of those with whom you disagree causes me to wonder if you do take these problems seriously. You clearly are an intelligent person. You can use that intelligence to fashion wise cracks and be a wise a**. Or you can take your native talent, develop analytical skills to offer perceptive suggestions that help all of us solve these problems.

I am humbly asking you, and those of similar conservative persuasion, to take the latter course. Should you continue your present course, I will continue mine. My course is to not Mourn but Organize, and I have done so for many years with some success. Negativity, name calling, mysogyny and race baiting have all slowed the American progress towards Peace & Freedom. However, the Arc of History bends towards Justice. If you want to be part of the Solution, please for the sake of all we both hold dear, quit being part of the Problem.

Mike Johnson

As a Ph. D. scientist, I find this examination of the theories and people's reactions to them to be correct.

Nancy Murata


June Greenfield

I live in a county 160 m. east of Albuquerque, and we have had few (4) cases; one of which I know the person was not actually in NM and was in Florida and died there. I think it would be safe to slowly open and follow the safe distance requirements, in small businesses and the few restaurants here--people need to work, and the overall risk is small if you look at the total picture of the percent of deaths compared to the total population. Why does the entire state have to go by the same rules as are in place for the counties which have the high number of cases and deaths?

Mike Johnson

Agreed and well said. The reason the whole state is treated like the hottest spot is because the Guv is drunk with power, and personal ego gratification. All dictators suffer from those things, she is no different. She will not give up easily, the people must make their will known and resist her.

Jim Klukkert

Dr. Michael Johnson- Gov. Lujan received over 57% of the vote in 2018, taking a 14% lead over Republican Steve Pearce. How can you call our Governor, elected by a wide margin, a dictator, except that you are motivated by your distaste for her or her policies. How can you substantiate your charge that “the Guv is drunk with power, and personal ego gratification.”

When you write “the people must make their will known and resist her,” are you advocating insurrection? Do you really believe that is the road to a better day for humanity?

Is the democratic process no longer, in your view, viable for resolution of our challenges and difficulties?

Mike Johnson

If our state legislature had a backbone, and weren't just dictator's bootlickers, they would be doing what Michigan is.......

Mike Johnson

That is what democracy looks like, not one person making all the decisions by personal whim, arbitrary and capricious decisions on who can survive and who can't.

Barry Rabkin

From Lawfare blog:

The federal government cannot directly hijack states’ historic quarantine powers for its own ends. In a line of 10th Amendment cases establishing the “anti-commandeering” doctrine, the Supreme Court has repeatedly made clear that the federal government cannot “issue orders directly to the States,” forcing their governments to enact laws or act as appendages of the federal government, carrying out federal programs.

This means that neither the president nor Congress can directly require states and cities to call off their “shelter-in-place” orders, or to reopen schools and businesses."

The Governor has the authority from the US Constitution to close businesses and issue stay-at-home orders ... and each of her orders carries the force of law.

Keep doing what you are doing, Governor. I applaud and respect your actions.

bart maxey

I know santa fe is home of the pompous Democrats, but I know there are at least a few intelligent people out there that enjoy the hypocrisy of her saying to stop comparing the nmsp to the Gestapo. I'm pretty sure mlg even called trump a dictator and other names in past statements

Ted Nugent

Pssst . . . Mayor Hicks, you may want to follow marching orders from MLG. She's serious about this. Don't open your whopping 5 businesses in Grants, NM. MLG owns the bigger hammer, not you. I admit, however, it's going to be fun watching as NMSP approach these Grants business owners should they follow your guidance. Patsy Lopez-Lucero

Khal Spencer

So what is the record for number of comments on a story?

Jim Klukkert

@Khal- I think we may go over 100. We are at 90 at this writing, and Orlie Romero put in 10 short but sweet incisive zingers in under an hour last Wednesday night starting at 10. That's late for an elderly working man like me, but darn it was exciting. Kick in the stall all night kinda guy, with apologies to M. Jagger of course!

Rip Ryness

Nebraska didn't shut down and has a higher population density.

NM population: 2.097 million - 17.23 / sq mi

NE population: 1.934 million - 25 / sq mi

Nebraska: deaths - 53

New Mexico: deaths - 93

Jim Klukkert

My quick estimate is that NM has a higher death rate ¿no? and thus a better reason to shut down than Nebraska.

Robert Bartlett

You shut down. We are going back to work.

Jim Klukkert

Robert Bartlett- Typically without substance, slightly threatening and just the sort of reply that does not further the discussion.

Randy DeVinney

I think that Rip's point is that the higher death rate is the result of the governor's "stay home" order. There is no evidence that stay home orders save lives, and strong correlation with higher death rates. Approximately one week after Grisham issued the stay home order, the death rate began increasing. Confining people to their homes, denying them access to sunlight and fresh air, what other result could one expect? Parks, public fishing places, running tracks... all closed to the public who desperately need exercise.

Jim Klukkert

Randy DeVinney & Rip Ryness- Stay at Home Orders DO & DO NOT WORK: Stay at home orders DO WORK in that those oders are the first step in Social Distancing, and so are the First Line of Defense in China, eventually most of Europe, the State of New York and other places, and as advocated for by Drs. Fauci, Birx and Redfield; and numerous Governors, including Cuomo of New York, where the curve is finally being flattened.

Stay at Home Orders DID NOT INITALLY WORK IN CHINA when large extended multi-generational families were confined together. The Chinese government finally successfully addressed this problem by removing exposed family individuals to isolation centers for observation. A drastic measure certainly inspired by an extreme crisis.

THE DEATH RATE IS NOT A FUNCTION OF STAY AT HOME OR ORDERS NOR OF CONFINEMENT; Death Rate is rather a function of the time period of the geometric rise in coronavirus spread and development of COVID-19.

CERTAINLY FRESH AIR, EXERCISE & HEALTHY DIET are all important to a healthy immune system. For many if not most New Mexicans, these are not impossible choices, and are not that much more difficult under the Governor’s lawful and medically correct Public Health Orders. Fresh Air, Exercise & Healthy Diet is not a cure for Covid-19.

IT IS TRAGIC that anyone should suffer more from this Pandemic because of socio-economic status, race or class. WE NEED TO ADDRESS THESE ISSUES BY RE-STRUCTURING OUR SOCIETY. We cannot address these issues by defying good sense, and lawful & medically correct Public Health Orders.

Orlie Romero

You don’t work do you, this must be everyday and annual life style for you. You haven’t made one coherent argument yet.

Jim Klukkert

@ Orlie You amazed me last night, 10 posts in an hour after 10 p.m. What a stud! Or how sad! Did you have any substantive point to make, or just very lonely?

kyle renfro

most of the people commenting on this page to keep everything closed are out of state transplants who have retired and moved to NM and have money in retirement and dont have to rely on a job to sustain their family and kids. For those that do need this to take care of your families, do whatever is necessary because MLG has not even the slightest intuition of what it is like to have to be in a situation of no job and no money and having to take care of multiple kids and family and tells you that that is how it is going to be.

Jim Klukkert

Re-opening New Mexico will NOT be best accomplished by those Folks who want to score political points by raging, or those who make outrageous assumptions. The issue has nothing at all to do with where a person is from, or if that person is retired or employed. We all are here now, and need to cooperate with each other to find solutions.

Orlie Romero

What’s your grand solution, Benadryl and wrapping ourselves in plastic wrap?

Jim Klukkert

And gaffing tape & bailing wire, Dude, where would we be without gaffing tape & bailing wire. Thanks for another comment so loaded with substance! ;–}

Angel Ortiz

Sorry Kyle. I'm born and raised in Santa Fe. Just off Alto Street to be specific. Retired from public service and also served my country after college. I support every action the Governor has taken address this crisis. My family is safe and healthy because we are following the guidelines set by the Governor. We are not consumed in the fear.

Orlie Romero

Jim, I believe everything amazes you especially since not all have time to sit here arguing with you, work takes up a lot of time!🤪

Jim Klukkert

@Orlie Cutie Romero Oh I'm working hard outside in the sun. No worries, batting back the soft balls you and T. Hyman lob at working people requires not a whole lot of time for activists of 6 decades. You are right, everything does amaze me as I live in heaven, fighting alongside Michael the Archangel for working people and the Lord's Creation. Thanks for your concern!

Rod Oldehoeft

I don't know where some of you are going grocery shopping, but The Marketplace and Trader Joe's meter people so the store is quite empty. Like almost everyone else in line (at least six feet apart) to enter, I'm wearing a mask, and I have a shopping list so I'm in and out in the minimum time. I appreciate the efforts of my neighbors in cooperating to maintain social distancing measures. My personal rights are not being bruised by the collective actions that help keep us all safer.

Bonnie Cox

Two of the world's major health organisations disagree on mask wearing. The World Health Organisation (WHO) currently discourages mask use:

There is currently no evidence that wearing a mask (whether medical or other types) by healthy persons in the wider community setting, including universal community masking, can prevent them from infection with respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.

WHO does recommend special masks (N95 masks or equivalent) plus other protection for health-care workers working with people who have, or are suspected to have, COVID-19.

By contrast, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has recently recommended everyone wear a (cloth) mask. However, this is to prevent infected people passing on the infection, not to prevent the wearer getting infected.

Beverly Duran

So what is the difference between Trump and MLG? She is acting like a Dictator instead of working with each County. All have different cases. Some with very few. And as far as Acoma goes, the pueblos have locked themselves in. Now you say others have to suffer financially because it”could” affect tribes. Is it ever enough?

Jim Klukkert

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “Every state… [has] laws authorizing quarantine and isolation… through the state’s health authority."

The Governor has the legal right to issue temporary public health measures, and the obligation to defend New Mexico against the Pandemic. No Governor wants to preside over an economic meltdown, but the potential loss of life obviously would not leave a fiscal upside. This threat is unprecedented. It is possible that the Governor is erring on the side of an abundance of caution, which to many of us is far preferable to unleashing Covid-19 on New Mexico. Far too many postings on this site are about making political points using more vindictive than factual content. Operation Gridlock efforts in other states are clearly funded and organized by the same Right Wing interests, including the Devos family and the Koch brothers, who brought us the so called 'Tea Party,' which falsely posed as a 'grass roots movement.' I have no doubt that good people want to Re-Open New Mexico, and I am a keen supporter of small business. Re-opening New Mexico will be best accomplished by calm folks acting for our collective best interests guided by the best scientific and medical advice. Folks who want to score political points by rain against any political point of view, call the NMSP Gestapo or indulge in vicious rants and name calling, only stand in the way of getting through these difficulties.

Barry Rabkin

Exactly right ! Well said.

Mr. John Martinez

Clear and rational thought must supersede the political rhetoric. Don't be so aligned to a political party that it clouds our ability to think independently and clearly. Using the CDC estimates from the 2018-2019 flu season there were 34,200 deaths in the US, the 2019-2020 data is not completely compiled yet. Covid-19 has claimed 52,400 deaths in one month, not a season-a month. Spin the statistics how you choose, this is not "just a flu bug". The problem with Mayor Hicks in Grants is not wanting to open the small businesses,it's the process. If he is willing to openly defy an order of the Governor then what trust does anyone have that he won't look the other way when his businesses are not complying with social distancing rules. Personally, I think small businesses could actually do it better than the big box; go out to Smith's, Albertsons, Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, no one is wearing masks, no social distancing, the whole family is in the store like no big deal. Small businesses could demand a higher level of protection for and from their employees and patrons. Point is, use these ideas and more as selling points to the Governor and put it out in public forum, buy a whole page ad in the New Mexican and Albuquerque Journal to have your voices heard, but not having a rule of law is not honorable and dangerous to society.

Maxwell Vertical

States are opening all around New Mexico. Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona have started. What do they see that MLG doesn’t?

Robert Bartlett

That families are being destroyed.

Chris Mechels

The Governor herself is causing much of the confusion, by her lack of consistency, and dealing from "exhortation", not science, far too much. Less talk, more science, would be good advice.

She only came to the 20% occupancy rule AFTER Mayor Webber issued his guidance, and even then, she had no directions for shoppers, unlike Webber. But, Webber only affected Santa Fe.

The Governor was very late, about 4 weeks late, to embrace face masks, and even then she was confusing. Still no use of IR temperature scans, though she actually "mentioned" them on the 22 April video.

Out and about yesterday in Santa Fe, the streets were crowded, as were the grocery stores. Not a good sign. She doesn't need to go to Grants, as it seems we are "open for business" right here in Santa Fe. She needs to visit a grocery store, and see for herself, as Webber did. She's at risk for losing all credibility, perhaps already has.

The solution; more action, and a lot less talk.

Ed Li

Thank you MLG for appropriately clapping back to this small minded “mayor” in Grants.

Tom Hyland

Hello Ed. Martin Hicks IS the mayor, not in parenthesis, and Mr. Hicks knows the Constitution very well. The Executive does not create laws, only the Legislative can do that. "Orders" issuing from the Executive, from governors and mayors, are not law and have no lawful gravity or reality. Police enforcing mere orders are threading on thin ice. If you want to learn the basis of Mayor Hicks' stand read what he quoted in this article. These laws are here to protect us all... not just big box stores the governor has declared essential... while everybody else can wither and die.

Jim Klukkert

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “Every state… [has] laws authorizing quarantine and isolation… through the state’s health authority." Sop while we do have Constitutional guarantees, in some crises, such as this unprecedented public health emergency, ie. this Pandemic, much like a natural disaster, certain Rights are suspended for the duration of the crisis.

The Governor not only acting lawfully, she is actually fulfilling her Constitutionally mandated duties to protect New Mexico.

A more productive conversation can be obtained if we move off this aspect of the topic, and onto how can we safely manage Re-opening New Mexico.

Tom Hyland

The honorable Mayor Martin Hicks, and I mean HONORABLE, should be commended for his lucid understanding of the LAW and the constitutions of New Mexico and of the United States. Only the Legislature can convene and create laws. The Executive can issue "orders" all day long but they have no lawful reality. Read this enlightening story from the Cibola Citizen news...

Jim Klukkert

Tom Hyland: You and Mayor (appropriately named) Hicks apparently know absolutely nothing about the Law. The Law is more than the Constitution, it is how it is interpreted in Case Law decisions by the Courts, and how it is enforced by the Executive Branch.

As I am sure that you both want to know the guiding principals at work here, as sure as I am that you both will cease this dangerous foolishness as soon as you know, here is the deal:

In Jacobson v. Massachusetts, (1905) the Court held that

“The liberty secured by the Constitution of the United States to every person within its jurisdiction does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint. There are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good.”

So in the case of a Public Health Emergency, the State may Citizenry.

In more detail, your can also refer to the following:

Constitutional Case Law

Gibbons v. Ogden, 22 U.S. 1 (1824)

The police powers of a state “form a portion of that immense mass of legislation which embraces everything within the territory of a state, not surrendered to the general government: all of which can advantageously exercised by the States themselves. Inspection laws, quarantine laws, and health laws of every description . . . are component parts of this mass.”

Holmes v. Jennison, 39 U.S. 540 (1840)

“Every state has acknowledged power to pass, and enforce quarantine, health, and inspection laws, to prevent the introduction of disease, pestilence, or unwholesome provisions; such laws interfere with no powers of Congress or treaty stipulations; they relate to internal police, and are subjects of domestic regulation within each state, over which no authority can be exercised by any power under the Constitution, save by requiring the consent of Congress to the imposition of duties on exports and imports, and their payment into the treasury of the United States.” 39 U.S. at 616.

State Non-Emergency Public Health Powers

Public Health Act, Sections 24-1-1, et seq., NMSA 1978 (Laws 1973, Chapter 359, as amended). Administered and enforced by the NM Department of Health.

• Section 24-1-3.C., NMSA 1978 – Authority to investigate, control and abate causes of disease, especially, epidemics, sources of mortality and other conditions of public health.

• Section 24-1-3.D., NMSA 1978 – Authority to establish, maintain and enforce isolation and quarantine.

• Section 24-1-3.E., NMSA 1978 – Authority to close any public place and forbid gatherings of people when necessary for the protection of public health.

The above three sections of the Public Health Act were first enacted by Laws 1919, Chapter 85, Section 10. This law also established the first state NM Department of Health during the world-wide outbreak of the 1918-1919 Spanish Influenza.

State Emergency Public Health Control Measures

Public Health Emergency Response Act (PHERA), Sections 12-10A-1, et seq., NMSA 1978 (Laws 2003, Chapter 218).

• Governor must declare a state of “Public Health Emergency” (PHE) by issuing an Executive Order after consultation with the Secretary of Health and in coordination with the Secretary of Public Safety and the Director of the NM Office of Homeland Security. (Section 12-10A-5, NMSA 1978)

• “PHE” is defined as “the occurrence or imminent threat of exposure to an extremely dangerous conditions or a highly infectious or toxic agent, including a threatening communicable disease, that poses an imminent threat of substantial harm to the population of the state of New Mexico or any portion thereof;” (Section 12-10A-3.L., NMSA 1978).

Dan Three

So once again we hear the talking points “follow the science” and the insults Mayor Hicks is “stupid” he has no business being Mayor and so is anyone else that wants to reopen. Reading the article will tell you the people that are vulnerable and who should stay home, people 65 and older and anyone with underlying conditions. I think if you look back you will find Dr. Fauci on Feb. 24 telling people it was ok to go out and live your life no restrictions that “science” was wrong, no fault of Dr. Fauci that was the information he had at the time. Well now we have much more information and we have slowed the spread through mitigation. We can continue with the guidelines and open our businesses and get people back to work. I don’t know about you but seeing people on food lines in America is not what this country is about. I think what the Governor should be doing right now is helping to secure good quality masks and gloves for the general population not closing and fining businesses.

Joe Danna

You should recall that there was and is a shortage of masks for medical personnel. We still don't have an adequate supply of masks, because the US lacks the capacity to produce the masks and is dependent on production in other countries, like China. Whereas some universities and businesses have tried to fill this gap, the US government has failed to take action to fill this crucial shortage. Since the virus is transmitted to others before an infected person becomes symptomatic, it is crucial to have good protective equipment AND responsible people. The homemade masks protect others much more than the wearer. Very simply, people without masks should not be allowed to enter buildings with other shoppers. Until we have better masks for everyone, you may be getting ahead of yourself.

Joseph Tafoya

Then why according to the very liberal newspaper and mouthpiece for the democratic party (Santa Fe New Mexican) writing articles about medical staff may have to be laid off at Santa Fe's own Christus St. Vincent Hospital and that there are very few beds that are occupied.

Orlie Romero

Masks aren’t required or needed, please keep up with science. This same thinking is like those that shop daily but simultaneously think business should be closed, fined and rights taken, let’s get logical here; if you go to a store or fast food why not a small business. Please THINK!

I saw a person jogging with a mask outside alone, what is happening with peoples common sense?

Joseph Tafoya

It does not take science to see what the Governor is doing. She's picking big corporate box stores over the small business owners of New Mexico. All I have ever heard from the liberal democratic sector is how corporations do not pay their fair share. Well, I guess this shows a whole new light on the subject. There is no science in having 25-30 people waiting in line to enter a big corporate store, some without any PPE, to mingle with 50-60 people in the store. Small business owners can do just as good a job or better. No, this is about control. Control the herd with fear and they will respond accordingly. That's what they do in totalitarian countries.

Andrew Lucero

I'm not going to get into the totalitarian control aspect of your argument... But you do make an excellent point about big corporate stores vs. small business owners. I agree, small business owners can do just as good a job if not better than their corporate counter parts. All businesses, if they follow the same social distancing protocols and wear PPE should be allowed to open.

Ed Li

Too many non-essential small businesses are wanting to reopen and right now it is just way too soon for that. I will admit that essential small businesses who have always regularly sold food, vital home goods or PPE supplies should be open, under preventative measures of course, but the other non-essential small business shops will and have taken advantage of that loophole and will start selling the same food, home goods or PPE on the side, just so they can say “see we are essential too” and try to open shop.

Orlie Romero

Tafoya, totally agree, your a smart clear thinking individual.

Lucero, no PPE needed, wash hands is best we can do.

Jack Hunter

Open up... Heck with that... Close the border with Oklahoma because they are opening too soon, Absolutely!

Orlie Romero

Jack, it’s a state line, not border.

Amy Earle

I’ve got to wonder what is wrong with a nurse of all people holding a sign claiming this virus is a flu bug. Does she not realize that very soon we are likely to have a million cases in the US and the death toll across the state climbs by the hour? A flu bug? Give me a break. There are always going to be the clueless among us. We can’t stop fools from fools but I’m very glad we have a smart and strong governor who is not willing to sacrifice the health of the rest of us because a handful of people are incapable of believing in science. She’s holding firm and saving lives.

Robert Bartlett

30% of the seasonal flu death rate.

B. Rosen

I support our governor. She is acting in accordance with the consensus in the scientific community about Covid 19. These are difficult decisions and I am glad she is making them based on science and not on short term economic forecasts.

Robert Bartlett

The scientific community and its models have been completely wrong from the start. Meanwhile people and families in New Mexico are facing an existential crisis. This is not a lab experiment.

Jim Klukkert

I agree that "This is not a lab experiment." So let's not turn it into an experiment by turning away from the best available scientific, medical and public health practices. Who else should we trust to guide us in Re-opening New Mexico. The Mayor of a beautiful yet remote town? I think not. Our crisis is not yet existential. Most of us still have beans in the larder, and chile in the freezer. (And maybe a little elk, too.)

Orlie Romero

Maybe we should listen to the 2 doctors on TV that YouTube censored, watch it as it makes absolute sense. We will be fine!

Mike Johnson

Mayor to Guv.......Go Ahead, Make My Day........#OpenNM

Robert Bartlett

"Lujan Grisham empathized with businesses on the verge of collapse"

No she doesn't. She's a petty dictator who collects a pay check while half a million households are devastated.

Miranda Viscoli

Stupid is as stupid does and in this case will cause more death. Mayor Hicks is a dangerous and unintelligent man who has no business being mayor. I thank our Governor for her courageous and intelligent action to keep New Mexicans safe and healthy from this deadly virus.

Charles Andreoli

But how are we going to protect ourselves from you and Grisham and the rest of the NM politicians that are bought and paid for with Bloomberg NY money ?

Jim Klukkert

Re-opening New Mexico will be best accomplished by calm folks acting for our collective best interests guided by the best scientific and medical advice, not those Folks who want to score political points by raging against any political point of view, call the NMSP Gestapo or indulging in vicious rants and name calling. 'Bloomberg NY money' has nothing to do with this issue.

Jim Klukkert

"Bloomberg NY money" ? If only. Turn out the guy is a lot tighter than he let on. Bloomberg NY money has a nothing to do with the issue at hand. Solving our problems in New Mexico is something that largely, will have to happen here, among us.

Jim Klukkert

Re-opening New Mexico will be best accomplished by calm folks acting for our collective best interests guided by the best scientific and medical advice, not those Folks who want to score political points by raging against any political point of view, call the NMSP Gestapo or indulging in vicious rants and name calling.

Ted Nugent

Nice going MLG! That's a 3 pointer: MLG vs. Hicks. Viva MLG! Connie Lopez-Lucero.

Richard Reinders

Easy to say Grisham is drawing salary and eating 3 meals a day. I didn't know Governor meant Emperor. Is this the land of the brave and the free.

Steve Spraitz

One before that, same agency, was out on bail for felony DUI, 5th offense , possession : use , narcotics : use of paraphernalia, driving on a suspended Felony DUI, 5 th offense and stole my pain meds

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