The city council of Roswell, New Mexico has voted to reopen schools and businesses in a rejection of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s coronavirus lockdown measures.
Holding an emergency session on Monday evening over the lockdown regulations, many of which have remained unchanged since the state went under lockdown in March, city council members voted in July not to enforce the governor’s orders and left enforcement up to New Mexico state police, KOAT reports.
“Now, COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus that is widespread and can be fatal to those with compromised health and the elderly,” said Councilman Jacob Roebuck. “To help stop the spread of this highly-contagious virus, the governor of the state of New Mexico has implemented a series of lockdowns and other restrictions.”
Roebuck introduced a motion for the city manager to reopen schools and for the city government to resume normal operations. The resolution Roebuck introduced also calls for the city manager to require permission from the city council before shutting down any service or building for more than 48 hours.
“The negative side of these lockdowns has been a financial impact especially brutal on the poor, … a negative [educational] impact on children, an increase of depression and suicide, an increase of domestic violence, an increase in drug and alcohol abuse, and a decrease in preventative care, including vaccines special to children, and health screenings, especially cancer,” Roebuck stated. “There’s no evidence that we can snuff out the virus with shutdowns.”
The measure was passed by a 5-4 vote.
In response to the measure, Gov. Grisham’s office slammed the meeting in a statement on Tuesday, stating that in Chaves County, where Roswell is located, is currently under a public health order.
“Roswell is one of the worst COVID-19 hotspots in the entire country right now – not just the state of New Mexico,” Grisham’s office stated. “Holding such an event with little regard for public health, especially when it could be held virtually, is deeply disappointing and risked worsening a dire public health situation.”