Restaurants across the state protest the governor’s new dine-in restrictions

Restaurants across New Mexico, including several in Carlsbad, held a “virtual protest” on Monday to object to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s order shutting them down again for indoor dining.

I fully support these restaurants and respect the extremely difficult choices they’ve been forced to make throughout this year. A number of our local restaurants have exceeded their breaking point and will probably have to shut down for good if they don’t re-open soon. Please continue to support all of our local businesses as they struggle to get through this difficult time in any way possible.

Our local restaurants have largely been models of compliance when it comes to implementing COVID safe practices. They have re-arranged their stores, printed temporary menus, kept their employees in masks and kept their restaurants at limited capacity. These changes have come at a considerable expense, but they have set an example to the rest of the community by displaying their willingness to make whatever adjustments are needed.

In return, they were told they would have to close again to indoor dining. Our restaurants have also not been linked to the recent upturn in positive cases, at least not that we have been made aware of. It feels like they were unfairly singled out.

Who works at restaurants? Your owners are often individuals who scraped together their finances to pursue the American Dream. It’s an extremely difficult business, even when it isn’t 2020. You have a wide variety of people working as servers, including a high percentage of single moms (and dads) who have managed to find a way to make ends meet. You have a diverse group of folks working in your kitchen as well. Restaurants have traditionally also offered a second chance for people seeking responsible employment who are trying to return to being productive members of society.

While a few of our restaurants can adapt, somewhat, to outdoor seating, many others are unable to do so. It is also still 100+ degrees even in the evening right now, so outdoor seating is also just not realistic for many.

We are not dismissing the seriousness of COVID-19 or the recent uptick of cases across New Mexico.  We recognize the need to continue to work to reduce the spread of this disease, we just believe it can responsibly be done so in a way that causes less permanent damage to our economy and our citizens.

You know who has proven that there’s a responsible path forward that balances both health and economic concerns? You know who has shown a willingness to make whatever adjustments were needed in order to remain open?

Our restaurants, that’s who.

-Mayor Dale Janway

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