Republicans push back on coronavirus business restrictions

New Mexico

A man smokes a cigarette while standing near closed stores at a central plaza and shopping district amid a public health order that has closed down most retail stores and suspended dine-in restaurant service in Santa Fe, N.M., Friday, March 27, 2020. New Mexico Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Jen Schroer says the state’s tourism industry will continue to suffer amid COVID-19 restrictions and vowed the state will do what it can to help hotels, tourist spots, and businesses recover once restrictions are lifted. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Republican Party is urging New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to reopen nonessential small businesses with some requirements for social distancing.

The first-term Democratic governor and state health officials have suspended nonessential business through at least April 30 in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus and ensure health care facilities are not overwhelmed by a surge of patients.

The state Republican Party says the precautions are too drastic and put small businesses at a disadvantage.

GOP leaders scheduled a news conference Monday afternoon to explain their views further.

Lujan Grisham says her first priority is safeguarding public health and safety.

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