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‘We did not expect to be closed this long’: New Mexico bar owners brace for extended shut down

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - On Friday nights in downtown Las Cruces before the pandemic, Rad Retrocade used to be packed with patrons.

"Rad was very successful," said Scott Johnson, the bar's general manager. "We were doing very well until we were forced to shut down."

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has now delayed the reopening of bars, which had been set for July 1, warning New Mexicans to "stay home."

On Friday, she cited the abrupt decisions by her fellow governors in Texas and Florida to again shut down bars they had recently allowed to reopen.

"The worst thing we can do is move backward," Lujan Grisham said on Friday. "In New Mexico we will be safe, methodical and smart as we learn to live in a Covid-positive world. Please - help me, help your neighbors and help your state keep this virus under control."

Johnson, who is collecting unemployment like many of his bar employees, said they "did not expect to be closed this long."

"I actually just bought a house in Las Cruces in January," added Johnson. "I have a mortgage to pay now and it is scary."

The general manager told ABC-7 that his business employed 80 people.

"All of our employees that made money, they went and spent it at other local businesses," Johnson said. "It was helping the economy - specifically downtown Las Cruces - but all of Las Cruces."

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Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is a former ABC-7 New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and weekend evening newscast anchor.


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