Local governments limiting person-to-person contact
Last updated 3/17/2020 at 11:11am
Following a directive to state agencies to accelerate remote-work initiatives, local entities took their own steps in reducing face-to-face interaction in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Right now,” Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham said in a Sunday release, “the message to New Mexicans must be clear: Avoid social gatherings, wash your hands, and bottom line, stay home. That s the best thing we can all do to protect each other’s health. ”
A county news release said that effective 5 p.m. Tuesday:
• The Administration, Finance, Clerk’s, Assessor’s, Treasurer’s, Grants and Road departments will not provide face-to-face services to the public. If the public has business with any of these offices, business will need to be conducted electronically via Email or through the mail or by telephone.
• Cash payments will not be accepted at any county office. All payments for services, filing, recording and payment of taxes will need to be done via check, money order or credit card and through the mail.
• All County Committee, Council and Task Force meetings are to be canceled through April 15.
• The Curry County Commission meeting will go on as scheduled on Tuesday with a modified agenda that was issued Sunday.
• The commission meeting scheduled for April 7 is still scheduled but will be assessed a week prior based on state directives.
The actions are in response to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s directive that state agencies accelerate remote work initiatives in the wake of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the release said.
Officials will re-assess conditions on March 27, the release read.
“Curry County apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause,” the release read. “The safety and security of our employees and the public is our utmost concern. We ask that you to be patient in receiving responses, as we will be operating with limited staff, and response time may be a little longer than usual.”
City of Clovis
The city has canceled all lower board meetings through April 6, and postponed its Thursday city commission meeting to March 26. The city is asking people to watch the meetings online at the city website or its Facebook page and call 575-763-9200 for questions during the meeting.
A city release Tuesday morning included the following directives, effective 5 p.m. Tuesday through April 6:
• City hall will be closed to the public, but staff will be available to assist citizens and businesses via phone and email. Payments will be accepted online at cityofclovis.org and by mail or the drop box outside of city hall (money orders recommended).
• The Clovis police and fire departments would be closed to the public, and fingerprinting services would be temporarily suspended.
• The public works, building safety, parks and recreation, and animal control departments will be closed to the public but reachable by phone and email.
• Friendship Senior Center will be closed to the public, but the Curry Residents Senior Meals Association will have grab-and-go lunches available at the west alley door.
• Clovis Municipal Court and Clovis Municipal Airport will remain open.
• Clovis Area Transit Service will remain operational, but asks users to follow CDC guidelines. Citizens are asked to avoid public transportation if they are not feeling well, and to contact a healthcare provider or the state COVID-19 hotline at 855-600-3453 and follow their guidelines. People who must use CATS to travel to medical appointments are asked to wear a mask following CDC guidelines.
• Colonial Park Golf Course will limit participation numbers in tournaments, and its restaurant is following state directives.
• The aquatic center, zoo and Roy Walker Recreation Center will be closed.
• Clovis-Carver Public Library will be closed to the public. E-book services at the library will continue and books may be returned at the library drop box or in person April 6. No late fees will be added.
General questions can be directed to 575-769-7828 or [email protected]
City of Portales
City Manager Sammy Standefer supplied the following directives to be implemented Monday
• Signs, publications, and notices to the public have been posted discouraging personal contact and encouraging payment of utilities by phone, Internet, and automatic draft when practical.
• There will be limited access throughout City Hall.
• Events that have been scheduled such as the Great American Clean-up, City Easter Egg Hunt, City Recreational events, and events scheduled at the city’s rental facilities are being canceled or re-scheduled.
• The Portales Public Library has limited access to only 30 users at a time and access to public computers has been restricted in order to limit close proximity contact.
• All work-related employee travel is suspended.
The Eastern Plains Council of Government office will be closed to the public.
The office may be contacted by phone, email or other digital means. The council is also limiting meetings, travel and any other gatherings.
Currently, the county is operating at normal business hours and full operations.
“We believe our implemented emergency operations plan is sufficient at this time,” County Manager Amber Hamilton said in an email. “Within our response, we are protecting our staff as well as the public we serve. We will continue to meet and discuss with stakeholders regularly and reassess our internal response as needed during this evolving situation.”
State agencies have made the following adjustments:
• All state museums, state historic sites, state parks and cultural institutions were closed to the public effective Monday morning; state visitors centers were previously closed to the public
• In government offices that provide direct service (for example, the Motor Vehicle Department), limiting staff and moving to an alternative or remote model of service; all other state government buildings and leased state offices are closed to the public
• The Rail Runner will cease operations during the public emergency.
• The directives exclude those deemed essential to public health and safety and protecting vulnerable populations — including state police, corrections officers, the National Guard and public health workers.