Amid rising coronavirus cases, the state is hoping local law enforcement agencies continue to help enforce Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s most recent stay-at-home order, a spokeswoman for the Governor’s Office said Thursday.

Calling the pandemic an “all hands on deck situation,” Lujan Grisham’s press secretary, Nora Meyers Sackett, said enforcement in cities and towns across the state remains critical to blunting the march of the novel coronavirus.

“We expect local law enforcement departments and municipal governments to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep their communities safe by enforcing the public health order requiring masks and prohibiting gatherings,” Sackett said. “The state COVID-19 spread is completely out of control across the state, and any municipality that is not doing everything it can to protect public health and limit the spread of the virus is doing a great disservice to New Mexico.”

New Mexico recorded 3,675 cases Thursday, with 266 in Santa Fe County. The rapid rise in cases prompted Lujan Grisham to issue revised health orders that went into effect Monday. They shuttered nonessential business and curtailed occupancy in those that remained open.

Sackett said the state has revoked operation licenses for businesses that have “flagrantly violated” public health orders in the past, and it will continue to do so as needed. She noted local municipalities and local law enforcement have been authorized to enforce the state’s mandate as needed.

During the state’s first lockdown in the spring, some police agencies were reluctant to enforce the health orders.

Early in the pandemic, Santa Fe police issued oral warnings to businesses found out of compliance with the public safety orders, before referring cases to New Mexico State Police, said Deputy Chief of Operations Paul Joye. Since the new order was issued, police have been authorized to begin writing citations to send offenders to Magistrate Court.

“With the first order that went out back earlier when this began, we were assisting to the extent that we were giving verbal warning, then after two warnings, were referring cases to state police,” Joye said. “Now we are tasked with ensuring compliance with theses businesses.”



Joye said police have not been authorized to take any action to close businesses — “at least yet.” In such situations, the state is notified to take action.

Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Juan Ríos said deputies have taken a similar approach to businesses found out of compliance outside Santa Fe city limits.

“In terms of businesses, that would have to be addressed by the state,” Ríos said.

With Thanksgiving nearing, the state also is attempting to crack down on large, in-person gatherings, but Joye said he was unaware of calls from individuals with tips on large gatherings happening within city limits.

Calls and emails to state police were not immediately returned.

Joye said his department has tried to educate people about local and state mask mandates, with most officers carrying multiple masks to hand out to anyone who may need one. Still, he acknowledged some refuse to take the masks and then a citation may be written.

“Some folks refuse and get a written warning,” Joye said. “There have been some cases where some have requested the citation.”

Santa Fe police have issued five warnings and seven citations for mask violations, Joye said. Offenders can be fined up to $50.

(22) comments

Comment deleted.
Pam Walker

So true Mr. Rosenbaum.

Daniel Valdez

Whata bunch of hypocrites. The Dems want to defund the police...now they're asking for they're help to enforce their law (1940's Germany style).

Lupe Molina

Jeez man, this is pretty sad. Can't you make a comparison that isn't to the Third Reich? Look up Godwin's Law. You lose.

Daniel Valdez

I can make any comparison I want. If you don't like it...tough.

Comment deleted.
Daniel Valdez

Once again, Jim Klukkert shows how vulnerable and insecure he is. I'm not narcissistic Jim. I'm simply exercising my constitutional rights to free speech. Calling me an idiot only proves how much of a hypocrite you are.

Jim Klukkert

Daniel Valdez- you are the one who wrote Dems want "help to enforce their law (1940's Germany style)" You are the one who compares Americans to Na*is. Only an idiot with zero understanding of history would say such a thing.

My people have fought fascism for many years. I, my family and many friends will do the same. I am secure in the struggle, victory will not be denied. No hypocrisy there, M. Valdez, just your idiocy.

Comment deleted.
Khal Spencer

Yeah, really. At least I compared to the Stasi in E. Germany! [wink]

Pat Wright

The Governor has tried to avoid having to enforce these sensible rules for months. The hospitals are full, infrastructure and medical staff are stretched and there is little else that can be done. The Government clearly has the right to make Public Health rules. That's why you are not allowed to run your sewage across your yard, serve contaminated food in a restaurant or practice medicine without a license. These rules are temporary and the result of a major health threat. It's too bad that so many New Mexicans could care less about their fellow citizens and would never consider even making a small sacrifice for the good of their community, especially its weakest members. Good Job Governor

Elizabeth DeForest

Apparently, none of you has either recovered from or lost people to Covid. The entire country is in dire straits due to misinformation and ignorance. The federal government doesn't take this seriously, so why should you, right? WRONG! Stop this stupid politicization, making up stories, slamming the governor etc. Be responsible and follow the CDC guidelines and there won't be a need for repercussions. It's not a police state. It's a public health emergency. Oh, and grow up. You do not want to catch this virus. Plenty of good ways to express your individuality. Just think. You might learn something! You DO wish to live to kvetch another day, don't you. So, grow up. Mask up. Distance. Do it all if not for yourself but for your loved ones.

Khal Spencer

Stasi, not Stazi. Sorry.

Khal Spencer

This is not East Germany, where kids blow in their parents to the STAZI. The main problem is people are not taking this seriously, we are getting conflicting advice, and finally, well, a lot of people are stupid. But turning this into a police state is a grave issue. But so are nearly 3700 cases per day.

If you want to keep government out of your knickers, make sure you know how to wear your knickers.

Comment deleted.
Kathy Fish

Wow, what a thoughtful and comprehensive post! Not.

Karl Harig

This is basically Marshall law which is illegal.

Jim Klukkert

Karl Harig- didn't Marshall Law play for the Twins?

Mike Johnson

[lol]

Khal Spencer

[beam]

Mike Johnson

Seriously? So we can expect replays of what happened in China and South Korea, mass arrests and people drug away, being beaten, while kicking and screaming, to jail for gathering or not wearing a mask? Good luck with that. The Santa Fe police won't even intervene when anarchists riot, threaten and bully police, and destroy public property in the plaza in broad daylight.

Comment deleted.
Stefanie Beninato

I cannot understand what you have written. Some editing is needed.

Donato Velasco

calling for help after she is defunding them, so what calls will have to wait so they can give tickets for no mask..

Comment deleted.
Lupe Molina

Come on, mods. Referring to our governor as Hitler doesn't qualify as name calling?

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