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‘Let us serve’: Las Cruces restaurant owners, servers protest New Mexico dining restrictions

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- Restaurant owners and members of the service industry across Las Cruces on Monday afternoon protested the New Mexico governor's decision to close dining rooms.

“We are standing for restaurants’ rights to keep their employees employed and their right to do business," said Marci Dickerson, who organized the protest at the Game II in east Las Cruces.

"Restaurants like us that don't have a drive-thru or patios have a hard time meeting up sales and keeping employees," said Ramiro Alcala, who has owned Las Trancas for 26 years in Las Cruces.

"Sales are down 90 percent," Alcala said, who was participating in the protest. "It's tough to survive."

Before the shutdown, Alcala said he employed 23 people. Now, he has just six people working at the restaurant.

"There are employees that didn't qualify for unemployment and I can't employ them because there are no sales," Alcala said.

Restaurants like Nopalito and La Nueva Casita Café are also struggling.

“Getting the workers and then losing them, and then getting new workers and retraining them again - that’s a big downfall," said Victor Gallegos, the owner of Nopalito. "That hurts us real bad.”

“We are being careful here," said Jaime Salazar, the general manager of La Nueva Casita Café. "We’ve taken all the precautions. We’ve stopped people from entering our door without a mask.”

Last week, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced she was rolling back the reopening of the state, limiting dining to outdoor seating and curbside pickup only.

“There has been significant community spread in our state since New Mexico opened more businesses,” explained state Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel last week. “That spread has not been sufficiently mitigated with Covid-safe behaviors like face-coverings."

The governor's office responded to Monday's protest with this statement from Lujan Grisham's official spokeswoman..

"The governor has been very clear that if New Mexico's Covid-19 cases continued to trend upwards, the state would need to retract some of the reopening measures we had been able to enact, including indoor dining. As the governor and Dr. Scrase noted during their press conference last week, a high percentage of the state's workplace rapid responses have been to restaurants. By economic sector, food industries make up the largest portion of Covid-19 workplace rapid responses and have already increased from previous weeks to last week.​ The governor was also very clear that this is not meant to "punish" restaurants, but it is an unavoidable consequence of New Mexicans continuing to conduct themselves in a way that continues to spread Covid-19 throughout the state."

You can watch the entire protest rally in the video player below.

Biz/Tech / Coronavirus Video / New Mexico Politics / News / Top Stories / Video

Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.



  1. All of you should have thought about that when you morons were refusing to wear masks and wouldn’t social distance. You brought it on yourselves and your community.

  2. Governor Grisham is trying to keep what is going on in TX, AZ, and FL from happening inbher state. She’s hoping to get her numbers down like in NY.

    1. Spoken like a true Castro Communist! “Keep the people down. Don’t allow them to earn a living. Make them dependent on the government.” The NEW Democratic party!

          1. Freakin historical pandemic going on…….rednecks be like…….” duh cunstitushun “. Lol

        1. You haven’t figured this out yet? This virus isn’t going away. There will not be a vaccine. We all need to learn to live with it. Law of nature is kicking in. The strong will survive. Can’t help put wonder if these numbers are (IF they actually are) going up because we’ve been forced to sit on our butts for 4 months. That surpresses our immune system. Add the stresses of losing jobs, not b able to socialize and not eating properly because people are afraid to go to the store for fresh veges and that is a cocktail of death waiting to happen. I said back in April that El Paso was going to have big numbers because 70 of El Pasoan’s are fat and/or diabetic. Then we scare this group who need exercise more than anyone into never leaving their home. And then we wonder why they die? I exercise everyday, without a mask, 85 or 105 degrees. Our bodies are our temples. The stronger the perimeter, the better chance of defeating the enemy.

          1. It’s not a typical flu virus but a common cold type virus. There is no cure for the common cold…right? But herd immunity needed for the COVID19.

  3. I’ve found it interesting that the people yelling the word “constitution” when speaking about health regulation and mitigation efforts are the ones who know least about said constitution and how it applies. Why is that?

  4. This came of of AOC’s twitter page before she deleted it. “It is vital that Governors maintain restrictions on businesses until after the November elections because economic recovery will help Trump be re-elected. A few business closures or job losses is a small price to pay to be free from his presidency.” This was posted by her at 1:09 PM, 20 May 2020.

  5. This wouldn’t have anything to do with the Governess still believing that she is in the running for Joe’s VP pick. She is female and is a “Woman of color”. Good idea to limit your VP by gender and genetic makeup there Joe… no pandering here.

    My guess is that she will find out in about 10 days that she’s not in the running. Then there will be a temper tantrum for about a month. Expect everything to go back to normal about December 1st…

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