Some small business owners believe larger retailers are getting preferential treatment in the governor's public health order.
“It is wrong. The order is wrong," said Yvonne Swartz, who owns Artemisia in Taos. "And it needs to be changed.”
Swartz, who closed her small clothing boutique on Monday, is frustrated that larger retailers, are allowed to remain open.
"What makes them different than I am? Dillard’s, Macy’s, Bed Bath and Beyond, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kohl’s, Tuesday Morning, Big 5, Burlington Coat Factory, the list goes on," she said.
The governor’s public health order lists “hardware stores, 'big box' stores, and other large retailers” as essential businesses.
“They’re considered essential. Large retailers are considered essential. And I don’t understand what makes them essential over me or any other small business in New Mexico," Swartz said.
KOB 4 took those concerns to the governor's office, which released the following statement:
The reality of the situation is that the public health order has to be written to accommodate the entire state, both rural and urban communities statewide. We have to accommodate for a situation in which there is one clothing store in a town where someone may need to buy a winter coat as it's getting cold, and that store cannot be closed. I understand people's frustrations, but the state can't write a public health order that goes through and identifies every single store. What the state can do is identify baseline principles and convey them to the public and to different industries – for example, all businesses need to be curbside-only to the extent they can do that, no matter their size, no matter what they sell, no matter where they are; and all people need to be at home, except for emergencies, no matter what. If a store can be open, that doesn't mean they should be. The state has needed and still needs partners in this effort to stop New Mexicans from dying by the dozen every single day – it does not need businesses and individuals that look for any opportunity to skirt the spirit and letter of the public health order and enhance the health risk to New Mexicans.
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