NM RESTAURANTS CAN REOPEN

NM judge issues temporary restraining order; restaurants can open for 10 days

KRQE News Reports


NEW MEXICO A judge has put the brakes on part of the governor’s most recent public health order, ruling New Mexico restaurants can offer in-house dining for the next ten days. This comes after the New Mexico Restaurant Association filed a lawsuit against the state.

Starting Monday, July 20 restaurants can once again serve indoor at a 50% capacity. The owners of Trinity Hotel and Restaurant in Carlsbad, who were a part of the lawsuit, say this is a huge win.

“I was just elated to just share with my staff and my family. This has been a very tough road for all of us,” says Janie Balzano, co-owner.

It’s just a ten-day restraining order, so the judge could reverse the course at the end of the month. The New Mexico Restaurant Association, along with half a dozen eateries, sued the state law week. They claimed they were being unfairly singled out when the governor announced that restaurants could no longer have customers eating inside, to help stem the tide of the coronavirus cases.

According to the restraining order, the state failed to file a response in time. Last week, the governor’s latest public health order led to a protest from restaurants around the state. Trinity Hotel and restaurant was one of them.

“My employees. When my husband told them we got to shut down because we can’t do a patio, they had just gotten their paychecks and we thought that was going to be their last paycheck. Then they handed those paychecks back to us and said here, build a patio,” says Balzano.

KRQE News 13 asked the governor’s office why they didn’t file a response by the deadline. A spokesperson says they were going to file their response Monday, but claim the judge jumped the gun on the deadline.

Instead, the governor’s office filed an emergency motion Monday in the Supreme Court to retain the public health safeguards. The governor’s office also adds a bad ruling by a judge doesn’t change the fact that indoor dining is unsafe during the pandemic.

Trinity Hotel and Restaurant say this restraining order doesn’t change their safe practices. They will continue to use safe guards like sanitation, masks, and social distancing while serving their customers.

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