DOÑA ANA COUNTY, New Mexico - With Doña Ana County accounting for 20 percent of the state's new virus cases on Monday, elected officials are pushing the business community to require masks.
“I would feel terrible if anyone became ill," said Julienne Hadfield, who has owned Julienne Jewelry in the Mesilla Plaza for 35 years. "If one of them got sick, we’d all get sick.”
Hadfield began requiring masks on Saturday.
“At first, we had decided we would just gently request, thinking that people would respond and understand, but it turned into a political statement," Hadfield said. "I’m really doing it for everyone’s safety, including the safety of my staff.”
Hadfield told ABC-7 she has an older clientele and that at least one of her employee's family members is at high risk for contracting the virus and growing ill.
“I do feel safer," said her customer, Barbara Castellone. "I wear a mask not only to protect myself, but to protect everybody around me.”
Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima said he wants to create an incentive program to recognize businesses that require masks to slow the spread of Covid-19.
“You know what? It’s out there," the mayor explained. "This virus is out there and it’s very deadly. I hope that this in some form or fashion helps a little bit to remind the public that this is a serious issue.”
Doña Ana County had 35 additional infections on Monday. The county's death toll remained at nine, including a death that was reported on Sunday.
We may have to dial it back from where we’re at today if all of us can’t collectively work together as a community, as fellow human beings to be able to protect each other and slow the spread," said David Morgan, a spokesman for the New Mexico Department of Public Health.
“We want to spread love, not a virus," said Hadfield.