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Libraries, pools set to close, but critical services will continue

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

The city of Albuquerque has announced a barrage of closings and updates about its services and programs amid growing concern about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Tim Keller said the city is moving to promote “social distancing,” but that Albuquerque will continue offering its critical services.

“The bottom line is, stay home if you can,” he said in a statement Friday. “We know that not everyone has that choice or ability, and we’re making sure seniors and kids get the meals they need, and our first responders are out on the frontlines keeping people safe. We are mobilized for the coronavirus response.”

There will be an “increased presence” of Albuquerque police and fire personnel throughout the community, and enhanced cleaning measures for city facilities and services across the board.

“The hoarding of cleaning supplies, soap, food and water or other basic goods is also inappropriate and detrimental to the community’s ability to respond as needed to this crisis,” the release states.

Among the changes and affected programming:

• All city/county libraries are closed through April 15

• All city pools are closed through April 15

• The ABQ BioPark will keep its outdoor exhibits open, but is closing the indoor exhibits and café through April 15

• The Albuquerque Museum, Explora, Balloon Fiesta Park and Casa San Isidro are closed through April 15, except for “limited registration programming”

• Citizens can still use city parks, open spaces and outdoor athletic facilities as long as activities do not exceed the state public health order banning gatherings of over 100 people

• Bingo, flea markets and other events at the city’s senior, multigenerational and 50-plus fitness centers have been postponed or canceled, but the venues remain open for seniors who need them for meals and other services

• Health and social services centers will remain open for critical services

• The city will continue bus services as usual, but has hired 10 temporary workers to help with more regular vehicle cleaning efforts.

• The city’s community centers will host kids’ programming from 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and provide meals for children; however, space at each location is limited and registration is required

• Outside of the specific kids’ programming, city community centers are closed to the general public

• The city is extending spring break programs for an extra week; they will run March 23-April 3, but registration is required

“We should all be taking enhanced preventive measures at this time, including practicing personal health hygiene and minimizing your activities in public spaces to reduce potential exposure,” Ryan Mast, environmental health director, said in the release.

Mast encouraged those with symptoms of COVID-19 to call the New Mexico Department of Health at 855-600-3453.

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