New Mexico Governor Grisham had announced that instead of taking another step forward in reopening economies, the state has to go into a reverse mode. Apparently, results of the partial reopening, including allowing restaurants to operate at 50% capacity, has sent the state’s COVID-19 cases rising in significant numbers.
In May, a 219% increase was noted after 492 workers had tested positive after partial reopening. As of the first week of July, the New Mexico Health Department reported that as the ICUs in hospitals are now at full capacity, and while there are calls fro more personal protective equipment (PPEs), the state is now seeing na increase in the number of infection cases among health workers. As a matter of fact, Bernalillo County where three of the state’s major COVID-19 hospitals are located have the largest number of increases.
That being the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic in NM, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham together with New Mexico’s health officials have decided that resuming with too many day-to-day activities too soon had sent the state’s overall conditions going in the wrong direction. .
In line with the amendment of public health orders, Governor Grisham has issued a new directive to bars and restaurants, to observe anew the restriction against in-door seatings. Bars and grills with outdoor seating provisions can only serve at 50% capacity. Others though, would have to take orders only for takeout or deliveries. Breweries on the other hand, will likewise limit business operations to curbside pickups.
As for New Mexicans, particularly the younger generation, Governor Grisham is making an appeal tor people to modify their behavior by staying home as much as possible. Gatherings are to be avoided, while requiring the wearing of masks when leaving the house to perform essential tasks or business purposes.
Actually, in conjunction with the modified public health mandates, the annual New Mexico State Fair has also been cancelled, much to the consternation of the organizers of the horse races that take place during the annual event.
NM’s Horse Racing Industry Facing a Bleak Future
While horse races in other American states have been given permission to resume the races disrupted during the mid-March lockdown, the government of New Mexico has put horse racing activities on hold. All race events scheduled to take place at the SunRay Park in Farmington and at the Sunland Park in Souther NM have been cancelled.
The Executive Director of New Mexico Horsemen’s Association (NMHA), Richard Erhard voiced apprehension that an entire industry, the third largest contributor to New Mexico’s economy is in imminent danger of collapse. He described horses as professional athletes that have been well-groomed and muscled-up in preparation for the races. Cancellation of the races means shutting down that particular aspect of their existence as race breeds, which poses as danger.
Race Track Operators are Not Keen on Running Races Without Supplementary Funds Earned from Racinos
Even the racetrack owners are contemplating discontinuing the races scheduled for the Ruidoso Downs in Albuquerque Downs and the Hobbs Downs in Zia Park. Race track operators contend that the revenues generated by the racinos help subsidize the costs of running races at the tracks. However, the absence of revenues coming from slot machines and casino tables, as well as the suspension of the state fair, could mean they stand to lose as much as tens of thousands of dollars per day.
Due to the setbacks faced by owners of the race horses, many in the industry are also putting in question the health of the animals, which all the more threatens the future of New Mexico’s horse racing industry. As an aside, Past the Wire recommends useful information available at BloodHorse (https://pastthewire.com/blog-posts/equibase-com-a-website-for-horseracing-data-or/.) The site contains comprehensive digital information that serves as a one-stop outlet for owners when making horse breeding decisions.