Chambers distributing free masks
July 1, 2020
It’s now a month into Phase 2 of re-opening in New Mexico, with businesses trying to reclaim some kind of normal.
“I think that things are settling down with local businesses,” Curry County Chamber of Commerce Director Ernie Kos said. “I know there are a few businesses that are having a hard time with getting staffed up.”
“We’re glad to get back open to some degree, but our businesses are still reeling and trying to recover,” Roosevelt County Chamber Director Karl Terry said. “We’re real pleased to get people, get their doors back open, even though they’re not open at 100 percent, most of them. … We’re seeing increases in cases and we’re concerned about that; we want people to really be careful. But it’s important right now to support our local businesses. …
“Some of them came through very, very well. Some of the ones that have been silent about it I’m a little more worried about. I know some that are not coming back are some of those that were already on the bubble.”
Among new projects coming from the chambers is the influx of about 11,000 masks. The Curry Chamber received 8,000 from the state, Roosevelt 3,000 through a nationwide mercy disaster relief program.
“So we’re distributing face masks to our businesses so they can keep their employees safe,” Terry said.
“We realize there is a lot of controversy about the face masks; we’re not here to judge. But we want people to have them available. … If they need them we’re going to have them. We’ve got a good supply of them; they’re cotton masks. We’re able to get them out to any business that needs them.”
Kos said Clovis’ Chamber is also distributing masks at no charge. They can be washed and re-used, she said.
The Chambers remain in hurry-up-and-wait mode regarding a next-phase announcement from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The Chamber’s most recent opening guide became effective May 21 and was updated May 28. It discusses social distancing, respiratory etiquette, and environmental cleaning, hand hygiene and employee health practices.
“That has been our focus and what we’ve been working from,” Kos said. “The latest update from the governor was there was no update. We’re just anxious to get into the next phase. So we haven’t updated our document at all because she didn’t really give any new openings in the last update.”
Kos said Bryan Ellis, as part of the Curry Chamber’s task force, has been visiting businesses, free of charge, and either confirming that business owners’ practices are correct or advising them on how they need to improve.
“He’s got some expertise relating to this issue, respiratory and COVID,” Kos said. “So he’s played a key role.”