COVID-19 by the numbers
New Mexico health officials reported 134 new positive COVID-19 test results yesterday, bringing the total number of cases thus far to 6,317. The state also announced seven additional deaths, and has now had 283 fatalities statewide. As of today, 206 people are hospitalized and the health department has designated 1,985 COVID-19 cases as recovered.
You can read all of SFR's COVID-19 coverage here.
If you've had experiences with testing or the virus, we would like to hear from you.
NM eyes June 1 reopening for restaurants
Restaurants, gyms and salons are on track to reopen—at partial capacity—come June 1, according to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and health officials, who reviewed the state's progress in fighting COVID-19 during a news conference yesterday. "We don't believe we aren't going to get to our targets exactly when we should," the governor said. "I want that too and we're getting there thanks to you." Statewide, the rate of transmission—which health officials are tracking closely—has declined in all regions, and Health and Human Services Secretary David Scrase, sharing the most recent modeling data, says it appears the state may have hit its peak on May 1. "Hopefully, we're on a steady downhill course," he said. The state also continues to amp up access to COVID-19 testing, Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel said, and continues to encourage people to get tested.
Santa Fe committee approves face mask rule
Santa Fe's City Council's Quality of Life Committee unanimously approved a proposed ordinance that would require Santa Feans to wear face masks in public buildings, on public transportation and when interacting with people. The masks wouldn't be required outside during exercise, in cars or when eating or drinking. The city's Finance Committee will consider the ordinance on June 1 and it heads to the City Council for a public hearing on June 10. Committee Chair and City Councilor Carol Romero-Wirth plans on amendments to the ordinance, which currently includes a $50 fine for first-time offenders, to instead issue a warning.
CD3 candidate condemns ad
New Mexico 3rd Congressional District candidate Teresa Leger Fernandez yesterday issued a statement condemning a recent ad against fellow candidate and former CIA spy Valerie Plame. "There is an extremely offensive and sexist video going around about another candidate in this race," she said. "This type of vilification has no place in our politics and I strongly condemn this video. My life's work and my campaign has been about love, not hate." The Alliance to Combat Extremism Fund's ad targets Plame, calling her a "disgraced racist millionaire" among other things. Leger Fernandez' statement did not specifically address and denounce dark money groups' expenditures in her race, as candidates John Blair and Marco Serna have called upon her to do.
“Dead Democrat” remarks spark outrage
Lawmakers are calling upon Republican Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin to resign following his comments at an unknown event at which he said: "I've come to a place where I've come to the conclusion that the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat." The video of Griffin's remarks was posted on social media pages for Cowboys for Trump, a group Griffin founded. "I don't say that in the physical sense," Griffin said. "…I say that in the political sense because the Democrat agenda and policy is anti-American right now." Literal or not, his comments sparked calls for his resignation. "The County Commissioner's comment is despicable, indefensible, and un-American," Democratic House Speaker Brian Egolf tweeted. "He represents Rs, Ds, and Independents. He should immediately apologize and resign." New Mexico Young Republicans also condemned Griffin's remarks.
Episode 64 of "Your New Mexico Government" looks at some of the initiatives borne from the pandemic. John Romero of the Drifters Car Club discusses cruising and organizing lowrider parades to honor 2020 graduates and front-line health care workers. Alec Cameron talks mobile drive-in movies, Reel Big Flix, and also his motivations for restoring a local playground overrun with detritus. KUNM's Ty Bannerman talks to Marya Errin Jones of The Tannex about how her Do-It-Yourself venue is closed, and how she started Tannex Radio to amplify and keep connections between regional performers. "Your New Mexico Government" is a collaboration between SFR, KUNM and New Mexico PBS.
Save today’s restaurants
Vinaigrette owner Erin Wade follows up on last month's open letter to Grubhub CEO Matt Maloney with a new open letter to the restaurant-going public. "The decisions you make have the power to reshape American food and life for a generation," Wade writes. "You should be worried. We are headed from the Ghost Farm to the Ghost Kitchen." The comparison is apt, Wade maintains, as she discusses the technological impact on farms as a predecessor to how technology and new business models—Grubhub's delivery empire in this case and its potential merger with Uber—could decimate the restaurant industry. "If Uber and Grubhub merge, it will create a network that could gobble up local hubs and become as omnipotent in food as Amazon is in retail," she says. "Independent restaurants will go the way of cabbies and canal boats. The era of the Ghost Kitchen will have arrived."
Behind the scenes at the museum
Hopefully, the public has been taking advantage of New Mexico's museums' shifts to virtual art going during the pandemic (you can read about many of those in SFR). El Palacio magazine heads behind the scenes to speak with Museum of Art curators about that transition. Curator of Twentieth-Century Art Christian Waguespack, who curated The Solitary Figure on Instagram and Facebook, says one challenge was overcoming her own preference for "experiencing art in the flesh." He notes: "To dismiss virtual spaces now is, to me, akin to dismissing books as a way to engage the arts. You just can't do it."
Props to Food Depot
US Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-NM, rightfully gave a shout-out to The Food Depot Executive Director Sherry Hooper as a #HometownHeroesNM for her organization's work in feeding New Mexicans during the pandemic and economic shut-down. "She is leading The Food Depot's amazing effort to address New Mexico's sharp increase in food insecurity as a result of the #COVID19 pandemic," Heinrich tweeted. "Sherry and everyone at The Food Depot, you have my heartfelt thanks for being a Hometown Hero and doing everything you can to help those who need it."
Good day, sunshine
Today looks sunny with a high near 76 degrees and north winds 10 to 15 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Thus far, the weekend looks mostly the same as today, but Monday, aka Memorial Day, still slated for a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms.
Thanks for reading! As a teenager, the Word attended Prince and the Revolution's Purple Rain tour. Now, the Prince estate has gotten involved with the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization and is offering for the first time video and remastered audio of Prince and the Revolution: Live, a historic concert captured at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY in 1985. It's really, really good.