The New Mexico Supreme Court issued an order Thursday for Grants Mayor Martin “Modey” Hicks to comply with the state’s public health restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic after he took actions in defiance of mandated business shutdowns.
In April, Hicks told business owners in the small Western New Mexico city of 9,000 people that they could open if they chose to. He also told Grants city employees who had been working from home to come back to work.
The instructions contracted public health orders issued by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Attorney General Hector Balderas had asked the Supreme Court to inform Hicks he is prohibited from opening city facilities in violation of the governor’s orders or “from issuing directives and orders that contradict” the state’s restrictions.
The high court issued a stay in April temporarily stopping the mayor from allowing city facilities and businesses to open before the final order was issued Thursday.
The owner of the Grants Papa’s Pawn & Gun shop, one of the businesses that continued operating in violation of the state order, was fined $60,000 earlier this month and told to appear in court.
“I am grateful to the Supreme Court for their affirmation that the Constitution and the laws of our State protect all New Mexicans during a pandemic emergency,” Balderas said in a statement.