GOP-backed group tries to incite New Mexico businesses to defy COVID-19 lockdown – but it’s a massive flop

Last week, the New Mexico Republican Party called on the state's governor to ease lockdown restrictions and slowly reopen businesses despite the continued spread of coronavirus. According to KUNM, a group that say's it's backed by the state GOP is now calling for businesses to defy lockdown orders and open anyway, but they aren't getting the response they hoped for.

This Monday, the group "Take Back New Mexico" organized a Facebook event that called for non-essential businesses to reopen in a show of defiance against lockdown orders. O’Rion Perry, one of the event's organizers, says the state GOP produced the online recruitment form for businesses that wanted to participate. While the list was never posted, Perry said he wanted the businesses to announce their participation themselves. But none of the 75 or so mostly rural businesses that Perry said had signed on had announced anything by Tuesday. According to Perry, they’re afraid of the legal consequences of violating lockdown orders.

When asked by KUNM about their alleged participation in the event, the New Mexico GOP released a statement saying that while the health and safety of all New Mexicans come first, they believe "the governor’s decision to keep big box stores open and close locally-owned mom and pop businesses across the state is wrong."

"We can responsibly have social distancing at all establishments, something that’s NOT happening at the national chains," the statement read. "Meantime, our local businesses are collapsing, closing and people may never recover. We encourage local governments to breathe life back into their communities and support responsible resolutions and calls to state government to reopen businesses."

According to the Daily Lobo, about 16 carfuls of people showed up outside the State Capitol for "Operation Gridlock." Among the participants was Alexis Martinez Johnson, a Republican running for Congress in New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District.