Members of the town council voted Friday (April 3) to extend the town’s emergency declaration as well as the curfew set down earlier in the week by Mayor Dan Barrone and town manager Rick Bellis.
During a special remote-cast meeting, members of the town council met to discuss the future of the COVID-19 emergency situation in Taos. Councilors had a discussion about the curfew, various closures and the need to maintain the current status quo on urging people to stay home.
“This is not the right time for us to back off,” said councilor George ‘Fritz’ Hahn during the meeting.
The council voted unanimously to continue the 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew which began Thursday (April 2). According to town manager Rick Bellis, the curfew is to ensure citizens of Taos are maintaining their social distancing and not engaging in unnecessary behavior during the emergency.
“It’s not meant to interfere with people’s normal habits,” Bellis said about the curfew. “It’s meant to cut back on the potential vandalism and house parties which we would normally see. There’s really no valid reason for anybody to be out after 10 o'clock.”
The council discussed the pros and cons of the curfew as well as their likes and dislikes about the situation.
Councilors Nathaniel Evans and Darien Fernandez both expressed displeasure with the curfew but did acknowledge the severity and need for the order.
“The curfew makes me feel uncomfortable but a lot of this stuff makes me feel uncomfortable,” Evans said. “I do support (the curfew) even though it does make me feel uncomfortable.”
Anyone caught out during a curfew would be subject to a misdemeanor charge which could result in a fine or jail sentence.
The curfew will remain for the time being as cases of COVID-19, the pneumonia-like illness caused by a new coronavirus, continue to rise across the state of New Mexico. Currently, the state has 495 cases of the disease, with more reported every day reported on a daily basis. Ten people in the state have died from complications related to the illness.
Many businesses and nonprofits around Taos have been recently closed due to a number of orders from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham aimed at reducing the spread of the virus, which health officials believe could end up infecting more than a quarter of a million people in the state. .
The council unanimously agreed to continue the town’s efforts to minimize community spread of the virus.
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