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Cited businesses say they were not violating public health order

The City of Albuquerque has cited two businesses for violating the governor’s public health order.

Both are locally owned, argue they are essential and they plan to fight the citations in Metropolitan Court.

“I just went down the street yesterday to Krispy Kreme and there is a line of 25 cars getting doughnuts and who knows how many employees that takes,” Latest Albuquerque News said Shane Brummett, manager of Carefree Spas. “When doughnuts are essential and treating hot water is not, then we see it as a problem.”

The other businesses cited, From Rags 2 Riches Smoke Shop has not closed its doors. Its owner argues half of his business is perishable items. He has also been cited by the state police.

“We are not just primarily a smoke shop we are a convenience store as well, said Marcus Haill, owner of From Rags 2 Riches. “You can come in and get anything in here that any all sups has, Circle K or any other local convenience store that is still open. we have more of a variety than they do.”

Ever since the outbreak, Gov. Michell Lujan Grisham’s public health orders have evolved. At first there was a ban on 10 or more people gathering, but it had exceptions. After numerous versions the ban grew to what is considered “essential businesses” and they too have restrictions on how many people can be inside at one time.

Brummett said his store was not actually open when he was cited. He said customers have been calling wanting chemicals and he would meet them at the store. He says the open sign was off when a police officer cited him. He had just loaded chemicals into the back of a 75-year-old woman’s car.

“He literally had to knock on the door for me to open the door,” Press Release Distribution Service Brummett said. “We were delivering spa chemicals to the trunk of their car. They would pull up open their trunk; they were already paid for. I was the only person in the store. One worker, one customer. Very safe.”

Mayor Tim Keller said that city has had “conversations” with about 700 businesses. Those conversations include written and verbal warnings and educating owners and mangers how to follow the order.

The mayor said there is a myth that the city is picking on small business and not big box retailers.

“We are absolutely enforcing everything the same,” Keller said. “We have come down very hard on big box stores… The city had to dial up regional and corporate folks to bring into compliance.”

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