Emergency order closing a New Mexico city to outsiders has been extended

An order that closed all roads into the city of Gallup, New Mexico, last week was extended by the state’s governor on Thursday. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced in a press release it will be extended through noon on Sunday, May 10, per a request by Gallup’s mayor. 

The governor’s original order was issued on May 1, after the city’s outgoing mayor sent her a plea for help in controlling its COVID-19 outbreak, calling it a “crisis of the highest order. The lockdown was declared under the state’s Riot Control Act and was already extended once. 

Under the order, which now states that residents should wear face coverings while in government buildings and essential businesses, residents are told to stay home except for emergency outings. Only two people may travel together in a car, and businesses will be closed from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. through Sunday. 

Roads into Gallup will stay closed to non-residents until Friday at 8 p.m., according to the governor’s office.

In his letter requesting the latest extension, Gallup Mayor Louis Bonaguidi said the city “determined that it is necessary to continue to restrict access to Gallup for an additional [day] until Friday at 8 p.m. to ensure a successful transition.” 

Gallup, a city of nearly 22,000 people about 100 miles west of Albuquerque, has been particularly affected by the coronavirus. It is the county seat of McKinley County, which has just 3.5 percent of the state’s population but about 30 percent of the state’s COVID-19 cases, according to the governor.  

As of Thursday, McKinley County reported 1,337 positive cases of COVID-19 and 29 COVID-related deaths, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. Over 85,000 people are hospitalized in New Mexico due to the coronavirus, and 193 people have died statewide.

In his letter requesting the latest extension, Mayor Bonaguidi said he has “no doubt that the actions we have taken together have helped turn the tide in our community and we will, in coming days and weeks, continue efforts in Gallup until we see positive results and until this virus is defeated.”

This photo provided by Patrick Sandoval shows authorities cordon off sections of the roadway in Gallup in Gallup, New Mexico., on Friday, May 1, 2020.  Patrick Sandoval via AP

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