Town of Taos curfew extended, fireworks banned

File photo

Projectile fireworks are banned for the next 30 days in the town of Taos. The council agreed that dry conditions could pose a fire threat.

The town of Taos Council voted Tuesday (June 9) to extend the current 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. curfew amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members of the town council voted unanimously to continue the town's emergency declaration citing the growing coronavirus case numbers in neighboring states and the state's public health measure.

"We're still in a crisis as the cases continue to go up," said councilor Nathaniel Evans. "We haven't seen a decrease in cases."

New Mexico reported a total of 47 new cases for Tuesday; however, June 5 saw over 330 new cases.

According to town officials, the curfew was set in place to ensure emergency responders are not overwhelmed in the evening hours with calls if they have to tend to other matters.

"I don't think 12 to 5 really hinders anybody," said Mayor Dan Barrone.

The council recently changed the curfew from 10 p.m. to midnight to allow for employees working at newly opened businesses to make it home before curfew.

Town manager Rick Bellis during the meeting said that the public was complying with the curfew and the town had only one police call in reference to a violation of the order.

Fireworks banned

The town council also voted in support of a fireworks ban for Taos. Projectile fireworks are banned in the town of Taos for the next 30 days as the summer drought continues.

"The past few days [of rain], if anything, is just going to make that June grass grow higher," said Taos Fire Chief Eddie Joe Abeyta.

Short-term rentals

During the meeting, the council also reviewed a draft of a short-term rental ordinance which will be made available for public viewing and comment in the coming days.

The town has been working with owners, opponents and staff to build an ordinance regulating short-term rentals and will be circulating the current ordinance in the public for review.

As it stands, the ordinance caps the allowable short-term rentals in Taos at 150. Currently there are 180. Those 180 will have priority in renewing their permit next year if the ordinance is passed.

In addition, the ordinance includes a section mandating that the rentals be cleaned and sanitized after each use.

The council also heard a presentation from Taos MainStreet, which will be working on a number of projects in the downtown area in the coming months.

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