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Rural communities like Hatch feel forgotten when it comes to virus testing, small business aid

HATCH, New Mexico -- Covid-19 is quickly spreading and impacting the Borderland including rural communities like Hatch.

Mayor Andy Nuñez, who has been mayor for about 20 years, told ABC-7 he wishes he can provide testing of Covid-19.

“Nobody comes here to test us," Nuñez said. "If we wanted testing, we need to go to Las Cruces. I've let them know, I’ve let the county commissioners know, how come you don’t send somebody up here?”

“It’s deeply important for people across New Mexico to know how dangerous this virus is and how important is us for us to take that steps we can to slow the spread,” said Congresswoman Xochitl Torres-Small.

Torres-Small added although there are aspects of rural life that help slow the spread it’s important to follow state guidelines.

In Hatch, which has a population of about 1,600 people, that message is getting across by word of mouth, according to Nuñez.

Signs are posted across the village, but social distancing is still bit of a challenge. Nuñez said the community park is now closed off.

While essential business are still open, restaurants are seeing an impact too. Restaurants the Pepper Pot have lost about 60 percent of their business. 

Torres-Small said the resources to stop Covid-19 in rural communities are slim.

“Its also a challenge in Hatch and other places in the Mesilla Valley because our farms are suffering at this time with really low cost for their produce and other products," she said. "I'm fighting to make sure that were supporting our farmers that they're eligible for some of these forgivable loans available to small businesses.”

Biz/Tech / Coronavirus Video / Health / New Mexico Politics / News / Video

Brianna Chavez

Brianna Chavez is an ABC-7 reporter/producer.

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