State Senators Argue for an Ease of COVID-19 Restrictions in the State

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, schools and many businesses have been all forced to close; since then, some have been able to reopen, while others have not. Part of what determined whether or not a business could be open was whether it fell in the category of being considered an essential business or not. Schools, on the other hand, were closed from March through the end of summer. State governors were able to determine to what extent businesses and schools could open within their own state; in New Mexico, many businesses and schools have remained closed, by order of the governor.

Gay Kernan, a Republican state senator from Hobbs, spoke to Dr. David Scrase, a member of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration, about her concerns of the impact the pandemic has had on southeastern New Mexico. She spoke specifically about the effects it has had on the economy and the concerns about when schools will be able to reopen for in-person learning. Dr. Scrase, who is the Human Services Secretary, said that there will be more COVID-19 testing that will allow southeastern New Mexico the opportunity to meet the requirements for schools and the economy to reopen. Kernan also presented her concerns about students in southeastern New Mexico crossing state lines to attend school in Texas, where schools have reopened for in-person learning. She also used the opportunity to tell Dr. Scrase that there have been very few recent COVID-19 cases that required hospitalization in Lea Country, where Hobbs is located.

Pat Woods, a Republican state senator from Broadview, had similar thoughts about the economic state in New Mexico. He also spoke to Dr. Scrase at the Legislative Finance Committee Meeting on Oct. 2 in Santa Fe; Woods told Scrase that there are only certain parts of the economy in New Mexico that are doing okay, such as the COVID-19 sector. Woods also mentioned that hospitals in eastern New Mexico have never completely filled up, like they have in other parts of the state and country. He also stated that some of the governor’s decisions are taking a mental and physical toll on residents’ health.

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