New Mexico Governor Seals Off Roads in Hard-Hit City

May 1, 2020 Updated: May 1, 2020

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham sealed off all roads to nonessential traffic in the city of Gallup to curb the spread of the CCP virus.

“A problem in one part of our state, with a virus this contagious, is a problem for our entire state,” the governor told reporters.

Grisham invoked the state’s Riot Control Act on Friday to close roads to nonessential travel. That also means all roads into the city are closed, and businesses will have to close from 5 p.m. until 8 a.m., according to a news release posted on Friday.

The order also stipulates that a maximum of two people can be inside a vehicle, and residents of Gallup have to shelter-in-place unless there is an emergency.

Gallup police, the McKinley County Sheriff’s Office, and the New Mexico State Police will enforce the emergency order and road closures. The New Mexico National Guard will be deployed to support in a non-law enforcement capacity.

Anyone who violates the order can face misdemeanor criminal charges. A second offense could garner fourth-degree felony charges, according to the governor’s office.

McKinley County, where Gallup is located, has reported over 1,000 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. That is more than 30 percent of New Mexico’s CCP virus cases.

Lujan Grisham said the spread of the virus in McKinley County is out of control, saying that social distancing “has not occurred and is not occurring.”

“The virus is running amok there. It must be stopped, and stricter measures are necessary. A problem in one part of our state, with a virus this dangerous and this contagious, is a problem for our entire state,” she added. “The imperative for all of us to remain home and physically distant has not changed. It is even more crucial for New Mexicans in the northwestern region. But what is happening in the northwest could happen in any part of our state. We must remain vigilant.”

The city had requested that the governor declare a state of emergency under the riot act, reported The Associated Press.

“Any state of emergency proclaimed under the Riot Control Act, along with any restrictions imposed for control of that emergency, terminates automatically at noon on the third day after it becomes effective unless sooner terminated by proclamation of the governor. The Gallup emergency is effective immediately and will expire at noon on Monday, May 4,” the news release said.