New Mexico Governor Potentially Broke Her Own Shutdown Order
According to a KRQE News 13, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham may have broken her own state’s non-essential business shutdown order.
Back in April, the New Mexico state government ordered non-essential businesses to shut down and “lectured all New Mexicans to stay home.”
However, KRQE News 13 reported that “a non-essential business opened up so she could buy jewelry and have it delivered to her.”
Curiously, Grisham “stressed that New Mexicans needed to stay home and should only go out for essential items such as food.” She also declared that all non-essential businesses would be shut down.“We are in really tough financial times as a state. It mirrors the incredible, personal sacrifices that happen every single day because people have limited their ability to work, telecommuting and many people, in fact, have lost their jobs,” Lujan Grisham stated on April 3rd.
A few days after the April 3rd news conference and a week before Easter, KRQE News 13 discovered that Lujan Grisham called an employee at Lilly Barrack and instructed the employee to buy expensive jewelry. The jewelry in question was purchased over the phone. The employee then went to the store, acquired the jewelry and put it outside the door of the store where someone who knew the governor decided to pick it up. This account is coming from a person who runs Lilly Barrack stores.
The governor rejected doing an on-camera interview and provided a different version of the story. A governor spokesman said in email that “Lujan Grisham did call an employee, saying they had a longstanding personal relationship. The employee came here [Lilly Barrack], got the jewelry and took it home, left it outside their home and then someone came and picked it up.”
Initially, the governor’s office claimed it was a campaign staffer, then later told KRQE it was the governor’s friend, but wouldn’t provide a name. They also said the transaction was entirely “contact-less, remote and permissible.”
The spokesman also alluded to the governor’s order at the time stating “none of the state’s public health orders have restricted the conduct of business operations in which an employee only interacts with clients or customers remotely.” That being said, the same order also explicitly requires the closure of physical retails venues and doesn’t say anything about home delivery.
KRQE specifically asked if home delivery was allowed. The governor’s spokesman responded that it was not a home delivery and businesses were encouraged to “find creative ways to conduct business safely.” In addition, he noted that the store was not opened for the governor and stated that “turning the key inside a door to ‘open’ a store wouldn’t violate the order…” He also claimed that non-essential businesses all over New Mexico allow employees to enter to do inventory or clean.
However, businesses such as Mark Diamond’s Jewelers had a different view of the situation. A manager at Gertrude Zachary pointed out that no one was allowed in their store and they wouldn’t take the risk due to a fear of fines. They believed online sales via shipping was their only option, but they acquired no customers and lost hundreds of thousands of sales.
KRQE News 13 inquired about the two people who left their homes to deliver jewelry to the governor. Her office described it as an “unusual transaction” and while “of course the governor has been telling people to stay home to the greatest extent possible, it also true she’s been urging New Mexicans to find ways to support local businesses.”
KRQE News13 noted the followed:
The governor’s office says if a New Mexican has that kind of personal relationship with a local business and local businesses are trying to operate creatively to keep themselves and their employees afloat while staying safe, certainly this kind of transaction could have occurred.
KRQE News 13 also reached out to the manager of Ooh Ahh Jewelry in Nob Hill. She said they conducted online sales only with one person in the shop who sent orders out and didn’t do home or curbside deliveries because of the health orders not protecting them. Curbside delivery wasn’t permitted until May 1.