Ignoring Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s public health order to combat the spread of COVID-19 will cost an auto parts store in south Santa Fe tens of thousands of dollars.

O’Reilly Auto Parts has agreed to pay $79,200 in penalties for violations of New Mexico’s public health order and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the state Environment Department announced Tuesday.

After receiving several complaints, the department conducted an inspection on July 4 of the O’Reilly Auto Parts store at 4715 Airport Road.

“During that inspection, NMED observed that management did not require employees to wear face coverings — a violation of state law, public health orders and COVID-Safe Practices — thereby exposing staff and customers to the imminent danger of COVID-19,” the department said in a news release. “The store was also cited for failing to post signage requiring customers to wear face coverings while inside the store, further endangering employees.”

During subsequent inspections, the department observed that store management had corrected the violations, the news release states.

“Failure by employers to protect staff from COVID-19 — a known workplace hazard — is unacceptable,” Cabinet Secretary James Kenney said in a statement. “Employers must take their worker protection responsibility seriously or they will face robust enforcement action by the State of New Mexico.”

An employee at the auto parts store declined to comment and referred inquiries to O’Reilly’s corporate office in Missouri.

Mark Merz, the company’s vice president of investor relations, financial reporting and planning, said O’Reilly’s has a companywide policy “to fully comply with all state, federal and local ordinances related to COVID.”

Asked whether the store on Airport Road had violated that policy, Merz declined to comment.

Follow Daniel J. Chacón on Twitter @danieljchacon.

(6) comments

David Ford

Vote with your wallet!!

Robert Fields

Exactly. As covid mutates and gets more contagious and better able to evade the vaccines, we need everything tight and people must follow the guidelines.

O’Reilly is off my list for auto parts. Businesses need to understand that bad attitudes on fighting covid will cost them business and jobs. They can denounce it as cancel culture all they want. It is. But I refuse to support any business that openly displays contempt for protecting lives in their community. I’d rather see them go out of business.

I will avoid every company that thinks covid is a joke. It’s not. It’s deadly.

Philip Taccetta

I haven’t heard anything about the mutated Coronavirus being “ better able to evade the vaccine.

Robert Fields

There is a mutation in southern Africa that reportedly affects the spike proteins and is thought to make antibodies produced in response to the vaccines less able to recognize the spikes on the virus. The spike proteins are apparently what initial vaccines are coded for.

The Scientist has a fresh article on the mutation, called 501.V2, and what the mutation means for antibody recognition.

Not sure if links are allowed in posts so just search for “covid virus mutation Africa” and you should find lots about what is currently known. This is from the The Scientist article:

“501.V2 carries a mutation in the spike protein called E484K, which is not present in the UK strain, Francois Balloux, the director of the University College London Genetics Institute, says in a statement. “The E484K mutation has been shown to reduce antibody recognition,” he says, which may help the virus bypass immune protection provided by prior infection or vaccination. However, he says that the mutation is not sufficient for the variant to bypass the protection provided by vaccines.“

The way I read it, it doesn’t seem to totally evade antibodies but it reduces the effectiveness.

The problem is mutations are happening and anything that gives the virus an advantage will get selected for. I’m just guessing but I wouldn’t think this mutation is in response to vaccines since the distribution is still limited. This one could just be lucky for the virus.

Robert Fields

The posting guidance says to cite sources so here is the link to the article I quoted from:


Scott Showen

I stopped by the O'reilly Cerrillos store on Friday the 1st and I saw 3 employees not wearing masks. Looks like the state needs to swing into that store too.

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