November 18, 2020

Big box stores have further restrictions, but closed businesses allowed curbside pickup, delivery

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham delivers her weekly COVID19 press conference at the State Capitol on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. Luis Sánchez Saturno/The New Mexican

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced an amendment to the state’s public health order that would change restrictions for big box stores in an attempt to make sure only the most essential businesses are able to have in-person services, but also to allow others to operate curbside or delivery services.

The governor announced a two-week shelter-in-place order, which began Monday, because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations throughout the state. After the two weeks, each county would be evaluated for how much it would be able to be open.

Lujan Grisham implored New Mexicans to stay home as much as possible to slow the spread of the virus.

“New Mexicans must stay at home to stop the spread and prevent needless mass casualties all throughout our state,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “This is real. This is not up for debate. We cannot stop the infections that have already happened and are still circulating throughout our state. We cannot reverse the thousands of significant illnesses and hundreds of deaths that have occurred. But we can still prevent worse. And we must. What we do now will determine who lives and dies this winter. Act right. And take COVID-19 seriously.”

The amended restrictions changed the definition of essential retail spaces and big box stores. 

The new definitions say that “big box” stores and retailers that do not generate more than one-third of their revenue from food and drink products are not considered essential and cannot remain open to in-person services.

The food is defined as “canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet food, animal feed or supplies, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other consumable food and drink products” in the order.

But businesses that are not identified as “essential” can now provide curbside pickup and/or delivery of goods to customers while operating “to the minimum extent possible.”

Another change is that animal grooming services are not able to operate.

The disease is spreading throughout the country. According to the COVID Tracking Project, states reported over 155,000 COVID-19 cases, 1,500 deaths and 77,000 hospitalizations on Tuesday.

New Mexico had a record high number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations on Tuesday as well.