New Mexico State Supreme Court hears challenge on indoor dining ban

New Mexico

A waiter carriers a check to a patron seated in a tent in the parking lot of Clafoutis restaurant on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The tent was rented after indoor seating was banned due to COVID-19, leaving only a handful of patio tables available. Patrons still pick up to-go orders inside. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The state Supreme Court is weighing a challenge against New Mexico’s pandemic-related ban on indoor dining under the administration of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Arguments were scheduled Wednesday in Santa Fe at a court that recently upheld the state’s authority to levy hefty $5,000 daily fines against businesses that flout health orders linked to the coronavirus.

New Mexico is among a handful of states including California and New Jersey that prohibit indoor dining as a temporary safeguard against the spread of COVID-19.

Attorneys for the restaurant industry assert that state health officials are invoking science as the basis of the ban without sharing specific scientific findings or deliberations.

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