This new page on the Beat, as of March 18, 2020, will be dedicated to news on COVID-19 as we receive it. Some articles in front page news, in legal notices,  columns, in sports, in editorials or letters to the editor, as well as in local and non-local news releases may also pertain to COVID-19. So please look at all pages in the Beat for ongoing news.

Santa Fe, NM - The New Mexico Office of Superintendent of Insurance ("Superintendent") and the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General are warning businesses and consumers that con- artists and scammers are taking advantage of the panic, fear and confusion surrounding the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) pandemic, and have intensified efforts to defraud and steal.

"Defrauding New Mexican families during the COVID-19 health emergency is unconscionable," said Attorney General Balderas. "Anyone who compromises our families' access to health and security will be prosecuted."

Superintendent of Insurance Russell Toal noted that scams take many forms and are constantly changing, but that most scams follow a common pattern.

Statewide-New Mexico State Police will enforce penalties on New Mexico Businesses and the public who refuse to comply with the Emergency Public Health Order.

On April 6, 2020 New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham extended the Public Order to April 30, 2020 which requires all non-essential businesses to stop operating. New Mexico State Police, in conjunction with local law enforcement, will ensure that businesses adhere to its directives.

New Mexico State Police has been educating non-compliant establishments and has given them a reasonable opportunity to adapt. We have seen many businesses and people voluntarily comply with the order. However, not all business and people are following the order. New Mexico State Police is in the position to hold businesses and people accountable. In the event businesses are not compliant, officers will first issue a written warning along with a cease and desist order.

At Comcast, we know connectivity matters right now more than ever, and millions of people across the globe are relying on us to help them work from home, access critical news and educational resources and, importantly, entertain and connect with their families during this difficult time.

As a leader in our community, I want to make sure you’re aware of the steps we’re taking to keep our customers connected, informed and supported as we get through this together.

Because the Strong Women, Strong Bones class, led by Judy O'Loughlin of the Grant County Extension Office, is not taking place due to the mandate against having more than 5 people in a gathering, O'Loughlin made a video of the various exercises, so that folks can stay fit during their time at home.  The SWSB curriculum is based on a study and regimen developed at Tufts University for women older than 50 years, so they maintain and build bone and body strength. 


This Holy Week, home is the holy place

SANTA FE –– The New Mexico Department of Transportation is asking the faithful to stay home during Holy Week.

The annual pilgrimages to El Santuario de Chimayo and Tome Hill have been cancelled due to the imposed health order to prohibit gathering of five or more people.

Please see and share the video titled "How to Make a Mask," found online here, on making a cloth, non-medical face covering.

The best way to avoid getting or spreading the new coronavirus continues to be staying home. However, the Centers for Disease Control issued new guidelines recommending that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings like grocery stores and pharmacies where it could be difficult to maintain social distancing.

Silver City, NM, April 7, 2020 -- On Monday, March 16, the Gila National Forest began offering virtual services to protect the health and safety of employees and members of the public during the COVID-19 outbreak in accordance with guidance from federal and state authorities.

Beginning immediately, any customers who need to purchase forest products are encouraged to call their closest ranger district during regular business hours for prompt customer service. The opportunity to purchase forest products over the phone using debit/credit cards will be offered to our customers, as well as instructions on options to mail in payment (check or money order only) and receive your permit. There are two free-use areas on the Gila NF - Signal Peak on Silver City Ranger District, and the roadside free-use area on the boundary of the Glenwood and Reserve Ranger District off of NM State Road 159. Free use fuelwood still needs a permit.

Below is some information received by New Mexico First from the NM Food and Agriculture Policy Council and Farm to Table.

This week USDA is planning how to disburse billions in aid funding intended for farmers and ranchers impacted by COVID-19. Stand with New Mexico First to ensure that aid is distributed equitably by including farmers that sell into local and regional markets.

New Mexico First has signed on and encourages its partners to sign on too. Lenders, nonprofits, businesses, farmer groups, and more.

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition: Sign-On Letter to USDA on Direct Farmer Aid in the CARES Act
Click here to sign on.

Additional Resources:
Just released is the Farm and Food Business Owners Guide to the CARES Act: Click here.
Small Business Support through the Small Business Administration. COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application Click Here.

A special thanks to our policy partners for this information and to our New Mexico Congressional Leadership for co-sponsoring a letter to USDA requesting clarity on food and agriculture programs in the CARES Act. Click Here to see letter.