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Mayor asks for lockdown of Gallup to continue

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Gallup looked like a ghost town after the lockdown order was issued last Friday. The order will now continue through noon Sunday at the request of the city’s mayor. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

The Gallup lockdown will continue through the weekend, with some modifications, city and state officials announced Thursday.

Following a request from the mayor of Gallup, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham extended the emergency order locking down the city through noon Sunday. The drastic measure is intended to slow the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

However, in a departure from the original emergency order issued last Friday, nonresidents will be able to enter the city starting at 8 p.m. Friday.

This dovetails with the curfews on nearby tribal communities.

“This was timed to line up with both the Navajo Nation curfew and the evening curfew within the Zuni Pueblo,” said Jennifer Lazarz, a Gallup spokeswoman. “We do expect less people will be coming into the community, so we are lifting the roadblocks.”

She said they are beginning a “phased re-opening strategy” since the shopping days on the first of the month have passed.

The new emergency order requires Gallup residents to wear a mask – or at least a cloth face-covering – when entering a business, government or nonprofit organization building. That modification was also requested by Gallup Mayor Louis Bonaguidi.

“This effort would help limit the spread of the virus in areas of significant community-based transmission,” Bonaguidi wrote in a letter to the governor.

This is the second time the governor has extended the emergency order, which was invoked under the Riot Control Act on May 1.

The roadblocks that were previously in place to prevent nonresidents from entering the city will be removed, but law enforcement will still be manning checkpoints to ensure there are no more than two people in a vehicle, according to Lazarz.

The order mandates that businesses close between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., and Gallup residents should stay at home except for emergency outings.

Nora Meyers Sackett, a spokeswoman for the governor, said McKinley County, whose county seat is Gallup, is home to 3.5% of New Mexico’s population, but about 30% of its reported COVID-19 cases. There were 1,402 cases in McKinley County and 31 deaths as of Thursday.

In his letter to the governor, Mayor Bonaguidi wrote that he believes the lockdown has been helpful in slowing the spread of the virus.

“I have no doubt that the actions we have taken together have helped turn the tide in our community and we will, in coming days and weeks, continue efforts in Gallup until we see positive results and until this virus is defeated,” he wrote.

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