New Mexico State officials have fined Papas Pawn & Gun, a small business in Grants, NM, $60,000 despite the essential business owner practicing careful social distancing. Owner Diane Rowe says law enforcement officers are among those who make purchases in her shop, and she believes her rights were violated as she remained open so her livelihood wouldn’t go under. Rowe took meticulous health precautions,
“On Monday, six or seven State Police officers surrounded my small shop, and it was really upsetting,” said Rowe. “That was a total show of force. They came to give me a court summons, treated me like I was a criminal, not a shop owner. Later I got a notice from the State that I was being fined $60,000. My husband is a veteran who is disabled and we don’t have any employees. This fine will kill us. It’s the end. I don’t know what to do.”
Local communities and owners must have a stronger voice to decide when establishments can reopen, and all must be treated with fairness and equity. The governor’s order has led to threats and intimidation.
This was a violation of Rowe’s civil rights and Constitutional rights and another unjust action against businesses trying to survive, both as a result of policies decreed by Gov. Lujan Grisham. Rowe believes her treatment is disgraceful and says other businesses who depend on local consumers will soon be obsolete.
The governor continues to show favoritism for big box stores, taking millions of New Mexico dollars out of state, and neglecting the little guy, local businesses who keep our our local economies humming. The governor refuses to acknowledge that small businesses, like Papas Pawn & Gun, can provide and maintain social distancing and other health measures just like the national chains, that are packing shoppers in their aisles daily. This is blatant preferential treatment by the Lujan Grisham Administration.
Now such fines are putting businesses deeper into the hole. The shutdowns, fines and other pressures put on establishments are nothing less than discriminatory. The governor is simply choosing to ignore the little guy and discriminating against him. This is wrong, cruel and unjust.
RPNM has always put peoples’ health first and has repeatedly asked the Administration for fairness and equity to keep New Mexico‘s economy and peoples’ livelihoods alive.