The Española City Council held an emergency meeting Tuesday afternoon where they unanimously passed a resolution declaring a public health emergency in response to the global Coronavirus pandemic.
The resolution closely follows the March 11 public health emergency declaration by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and subsequent public health orders by New Mexico Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel.
The resolution designates interim city manager Xavier Martinez as the city government’s Coordinator of Civil Preparedness. City officials say the declaration allows city police and firefighters to work with New Mexico State Police to enforce the state’s public health orders that prohibit public gatherings of more than five people and force nonessential businesses to close.
Based on recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control, Sanchez advised residents to take the following precautions in day-to-day activities:
The elderly and people with compromised immune systems should obtain three months of all necessary prescriptions.
Everyone should avoid contact with people who are sick and wash their hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, avoid touching surfaces in public places, and to avoid handshaking, touching your face, human-to-contact sports and swimming pools.
The state and the city are now asking everyone to avoid all non-essential travel, including planes trips and cruise ships.
The city’s emergency declaration also encouraged non-essential businesses to close or restrict operations to telecommuting or working from home. A full list of which kinds of businesses are considered essential can be found at cv.nmhealth.org.
It also follows an order by the New Mexico Supreme Court on Tuesday that prohibits landlords from evicting residential or commercial tenants who are unable to pay their rent on time as a result of hardships caused the pandemic.
Sanchez said anyone who thinks someone needs to have a welfare check can call 747-6000. This number is available 24 hours a day.
The emergency meeting was broadcasted on Facebook Live and on KDCE radio, the first time ever that city officials have conducted a meeting with the public present only in a virtual sense. At its peak, the live stream on the city government’s Facebook page had more than 150 viewers.
Councilor John Ramon Vigil expressed his concern about the amount of traffic in town and asked the mayor how the executive orders would be upheld. Councilor Peggy Sue Martinez said she is concerned with people not heeding executive orders.