Yesterday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced a new public health order fining citizens $100 for violating her mask mandate and punishing businesses $100 with misdemeanor citations for violations. She also said, “I will cite you so that it’s fair to everyone,” yet singling out rural Eddy and Lea counties as the culprits contributing to a bump in cases. Lea county has a positive test rate of 2.56%, and Eddy County has a positive test rate of 1.69%
Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce said, “The Governor’s new mask order slapping citizens with $100 fines and punishing businesses with misdemeanors is just her latest way to mistreat New Mexicans. She also never specified who would enforce these new measures. Could it be that the hard-working men and women of the State Police, which her party has called to ‘defund,’ will be tasked with the burden?
“Gov. Lujan Grisham continuously claims to rely on science to make decisions regarding our state’s health. However, New Mexico’s low 3.5% COVID-19 positivity rate, with one out of six New Mexicans tested for the virus, shows that the science is clear: it’s time to safely reopen our state.
“Another issue the Governor did not address in her weekly coronavirus briefing was why she signed a state budget update that diverted millions of President Trump’s federal CARES Act funds earmarked to help schools deal with COVID-19 to general spending. Especially with the New Mexico Public Education Department’s recently published guidelines requiring the supply of masks, school lunches, and other health investments, the move to divert such funding is irresponsible and putting the burden on our schools,” said Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce.
“We hope the Governor realizes that small businesses and working families are hurting the most from the COVID-19 pandemic and the strict lockdown of our state. Gov. Lujan Grisham should take a measured, science-based approach to reopening. With only 12,276 out of 350,060 New Mexicans tested showing positive for coronavirus, the science is crystal clear: it’s high time we begin to open our doors, not threaten to close them again.
“During this pandemic, New Mexico suffers from two threats: the coronavirus, which all are affected by in one way or another, and a lack of leadership from a Governor who is quick to threaten another total lockdown while not considering the people her decisions would negatively impact.”