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Two eateries shut down for defying health order

A recent opening prompted a quick shutdown order for a pair of New Mexico restaurants.

State officials said Friday they had suspended food permits for Jalisco Cafe in Silver City and Anaheim Jack’s in Ruidoso after each resumed sit-down service in violation of state public health orders meant to limit the spread of COVID-19.

All New Mexico restaurants are currently prohibited from sit-down service per a statewide order that took effect March 19. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said this week the state is on track to begin reopening restaurants in a limited capacity June 1, but some did not wait that long.

Anaheim Jack’s announced on Facebook May 15 it was resuming outdoor dining, while Jalisco Cafe resumed dine-in service Monday, according to the Silver City Daily Press.

Anaheim Jack’s said on its Facebook page it was taking precautions to keep people safe, such as limiting group size and ramping up sanitization, but was reopening because “we can not sit idle and allow our business to be destroyed for political gain.”

The New Mexico Environment Department on Friday served it and Jalisco Cafe notice that their permits were suspended, which means they must immediately halt food service or face possible “legal action,” the department said in a news release.

“When any business presents an imminent risk to public health or the environment, the department will not hesitate to use all of its authorities to protect New Mexicans,” Environment Secretary James Kenney said in a statement. “Unlike these two businesses, the vast majority of restaurants are operating in compliance and protecting public health from the threat of COVID-19.”

The Journal could not immediately reach either restaurant late Friday.

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