New Mexico Governor Reads Gallup the Riot Act
The old saying to misbehaving folks that you are going to “read them the riot act” if they don’t get in line became a reality when NM Gov Michelle Lujan Grisham invoked the little-used Riot Control Act to lock down the town of Gallup.
The governor of New Mexico declared a state of emergency Friday for the city of Gallup to “mitigate the uninhibited spread of Covid-19.”
The city is under emergency restrictions to control the outbreak, according to a statement from New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
All roads into the city have been closed, businesses must close between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. and vehicles can only carry two individuals, according to the governor’s order. The governor is recommending that residents remain at home except for emergency outings and those essential for health and safety.
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Lujan Grisham invoked the state’s Riot Control Act to authorize these temporary restrictions. The move comes after the mayor requested the governor to declare a state of emergency in the city, according to a letter made public by the governor’s office.
“I recognize this request is unusual and constitutes a drastic measure, and the emergency powers set out under the Riot Control Act should be invoked sparingly,” Gallup Mayor Louis Bonaguidi wrote in his letter. “However, the COVID-19 outbreak in the city of Gallup is a crisis of the highest order. Immediate action is necessary.”
Gallup is in McKinley County, which has 1,027 positive cases of Covid-19 as of Thursday. The county has more than 30% of the state’s 3,411 cases and the most positive cases in the entire state, the governor’s statement said.
“Its infection trend has shown no sign of flattening,” according to the statement.
McKinley County has reported an additional 207 positive cases in the last two days, more than every other county in the state has reported total during the pandemic except for three, according to state officials.
Under the Riot Control Act, anyone who fails to comply with restrictions imposed under the act is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction of a second or subsequent offense is guilty of a fourth-degree felony.