March 24, 2020

ABQ mayor asks city to work together to slow spread of COVID-19

Courtesy Photo

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller

Tuesday morning, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller asked city residents to work together, both in spirit and financially, to combat the spread of COVID-19. 

Keller said since Albuquerque is the “urban core” of New Mexico, emergency orders and restrictions may diverge from what the state puts in place. 

“We might have to do things longer than the rest of the state or we might have to do things more intensely,” Keller said. “But right now we are in step with the state.”

Following the state’s public health emergency orders and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s most recent “stay at home” instruction means much of Albuquerque is shut down, Keller said. 

Keller encouraged residents who can, to consider donating money to the city’s effort to house those who experience homelessness through hotel vouchers and to help purchase basic necessities for vulnerable residents. Keller also stressed the importance of people staying home when possible due to Albuquerque being the metropolitan center of the state. 

“We’re where all the hospitals are, we’re where the highest density is,” Keller said. “That makes us by far and away, the highest risk for anywhere in New Mexico.”

Keller said all golf courses in the city will be closed, along with many community centers — with the exception of those that are providing childcare or meals. City buildings are closed to the public and administrative hearings will be cancelled or held through video conferencing. 

By this weekend, Keller said, regular weekday city bus service hours will be drastically reduced to what would normally be a Saturday schedule. The Albuquerque Rapid Transit route will be shut down completely. 

“We are keeping a limited schedule open because we do know that people are using the bus to get groceries and to go to hospital visits,” Keller said. 

The mayor encouraged everyone to stay home except for essential needs, like grocery shopping, which Keller recommended people do once a week and only buy a weeks-worth of food and supplies. 

He did not specify whether city police would be issuing citations, but did say the Albuquerque Police Department “may do some calls and knocks and visits on large gatherings.”

Keller urged city residents to cancel any game nights, dinner parties or any other large gatherings.

“All of those are terrible ideas right now,” Keller said. 

Lujan Grisham announced on Monday her “stay at home” instruction, asking all New Mexicans to stay home. She also ordered all non-essential businesses cease public operations and send employees home.