15 Jul Jonathan Cartu Stated: Summer temperatures strain restaurant, brewery owners to at…
The New Mexico Restaurant Association, along with several establishments, claim the governor’s amended order was not fact or data-based. As a whole, they feel targeted.
Last week the governor pointed to the inability to mitigate masks at restaurants, even at half capacity.
The governor’s spokesperson responded Tuesday with a statement in response to the new lawsuit. It reads, in part: “the law is clear that the state is empowered, if not obligated, to take action to save the lives of New Mexicans in the face of a public health emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic.”
As some establishments fight, others are scrambling to adjust with more patio dining, but the heat can be broiling in July, August, and beyond. Some struggling businesses are spending more money with the hopes of bringing in customers.
“We’re watering down the patio in the morning, literally putting ice on it to try and cool the cement,” said Wayne Moore, Director of Bistro Operations at D.H. Lescombes Winery. “Short of that, I’m not sure what we can do to control the heat.”
Moore said they’ve brought in evaporative coolers, upgraded misters and awnings at their Lescombes locations in Albuquerque and Las Cruces. It’s a costly $8,000 investment that they paid for with money they don’t have. For local businesses, it’s the only way to keep employees and try to make money.
“It was heartbreaking for us,” said Alfonso Serna, 377 Brewing partner. “We had done so much during the downtime to get the restaurant ready to open again. So once we did, we brought everyone back, everything was kind of running like normal, and then we hear the news were going to have to shut down again.”
The impact has been devastating. Alfonso Serna said at one point, business was down 90-percent. At D.H. Lescombes, their 60 employee-staff dropped to just 35.
With the state moving backwards in reopening, there’s no telling what will happen to businesses.
“Your phone starts ringing off the hook from employees, vendors, advertisers, I mean all of the above going ‘Hey, are ya’ll going to be here?’ or ‘Am I going to have a job? Will I have hours?’ from top to bottom. You don’t know what to do,” said Moore.
D.H. Lescombes and 377 Brewing are joining forces with restaurants around our state to send a message.
“I definitely feel like we’re getting just not a fair shake right now,” said Serna.
Both D.H. Lescombes and 377 said the road ahead depends on their customers and whether they’ll be brave enough to venture out into the heat and keep their money local.
“Let us serve,” said Moore. “That’s what restaurants, our restaurants, our breweries, our winery, people in the hospitality industry, that’s what we do, we serve. We aren’t the wealthiest industry by any means. We have people whose single mother’s families are just trying to get by right now.”
Indoor dining was shut down around the state Monday. It’s unclear how long that could last until the governor updates her health order.