Home News COVID-19 Situation Restaurant patios can open today

Restaurant patios can open today

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Restaurants with patios will be able to open for dining service starting Wednesday even as the state and region’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to increase.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office announced the amendment to the state’s health order in a press release Tuesday afternoon. The amendment applies to all of New Mexico except the northwest region, where spread of the coronavirus remains high.

Indoor dine-in services will still be prohibited until at least June 1, however, state health officials continue to monitor the rate of transmission in the southwest region, which if unchecked could preclude further reopenings in that area, the press release said.

Under the amended health order, restaurants can offer outdoor dining up to 50% of their outdoor area fire code occupancy. Service can be provided only to patrons who are seated; no bar or counter seating is permitted. Tables must be at least 6 feet apart, and no more than six people are permitted at each table, according to the press release.

Bars, which are defined as establishments that received more than 50% of their revenue in the previous calendar year from the sale of alcoholic beverages, are not included in the amended order. They can continue to offer take-out and delivery if already allowed.

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One Roswell restaurant owner said she was excited about the amendment, but said it should have already been in place.

“I think it’s a fantastic idea, but it should have been allowed as soon as people could go back to the parks,” said Kerry Moore, co-owner of Chef Toddzilla’s Gourmet Burgers, 107 Twin Diamond Road.

“I don’t know if it’s going to help boost our sales, but people are coming and grabbing our food and then they go sit at the park,” she said.

“At least we’re able to bleach our tables and deal with the trash,” she said.

Chef Toddzilla’s actually opened its patio late last week, she said, but when she returned to the restaurant Tuesday after being closed for the Memorial Day weekend, a phone message had been left by the state police, asking to return the call. She didn’t call them back.

In its daily update on COVID-19 cases Tuesday, the state health department announced two new cases in Chaves County, bringing the local total to 42. Statewide, 107 additional cases were announced, bringing the state total to 7,130.

Among the new cases statewide are 26 in San Juan County, 22 in McKinley County, one in Cibola County and three in Otero County. One new case was reported among federal inmates in the Otero County Prison and 14 among federal detainees held by ICE at the Torrance County Detention Facility.

The state announced five additional deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to 325. They are a man in his 60s from Cibola County, a man in his 70s from McKinley County, a woman in her 80s from Otero County, and a woman in her 60s and a man in his 70s, both from San Juan County. All had underlying health conditions, according to the press release. All but the man from San Juan County had been hospitalized; he had been a resident of the Cedar Ridge Inn facility in Farmington.

The state reported 211 people are hospitalized in the state for COVID-19 and 2,564 have recovered.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.