Today in “monitoring your civil liberties” news…
Taking a page out of the Wuhan coronavirus playbook, one New Mexico city has invoked the state’s Riot Control Act to lock down the entire city of Gallup, shutting down all roads leading into the city.
The decision was made by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and was done “to mitigate the uninhibited spread of COVID-19 in that city,” according to CBS News.
The governor’s office said on Friday of last week: “Effective at 12 p.m., May 1, all roads into Gallup are closed. Businesses in the city of Gallup will close from 5 p.m. through 8 a.m. Vehicles may only have a maximum of two individuals. Residents of the city should remain at home except for emergency outings and those essential for health, safety and welfare.“
The city has a population of about 22,000 people and is located 100 miles west of Albuquerque. The city has grappled with coronavirus disproportionately, posting 1,027 of the state’s 3,411 cases and 19 deaths as of last Friday. Its county has the highest number of cases in all of New Mexico.
Authorities are closing off sections of roadway into the city as a result.
McKinely County, where Gallup is located, has “more than 30 percent of the state’s total positive COVID-19 cases and the most positive cases in the entire state, outstripping even far more populous counties,” the governor’s office stated.
“Its infection trend has shown no sign of flattening. The county has reported an additional 207 positive cases in the last two days alone, more than every other county in the state has reported total over the length of the pandemic save three.”
— Michelle Lujan Grisham (@GovMLG) May 1, 2020
In a cry for help to the state government, Gallup mayor Jack McKinney wrote to the governor’s office, calling the city’s outbreak a “crisis of the highest order.”
He wrote: “The virus has caused many deaths, stretched medical facilities and resources to their capacity, and adversely impacted the welfare of the city of Gallup. Our community is unable to adequately address the outbreak without the imposition of certain restrictions necessary to regulate social distancing, public gatherings, sales of good, and the use of public streets.”
Meanwhile, in the neighboring city of Grants, New Mexico, Mayor Martin Hicks rallied Monday to encourage business owners to ignore the state’s guidelines and re-open for business.
The governor responded that Hicks’ plan makes “absolutely no sense whatsoever.”
She concluded: “These changes do not make our fight against the virus any easier; in fact, New Mexicans’ obligation to our social contract only deepens as we enter the next phase. The best defense against this virus, until there is a vaccine, is physical distance from other people.”