Building a safe-COVID business
As states re-open, many areas across the country have seen a rise in COVID-19 cases, a trend that, according to the Washington Post, has alarmed and drawn criticism from many European and world leaders. But in New Mexico, the pattern of cases and rate of infection has mostly continued to decline. The most recent figures from the New Mexico Department of Health modeling data show the rate of growth of COVID cases declining during the first week of June despite a slight increase following the memorial day holiday. This has allowed the state to continue to meet all its gating criteria and to move through re-opening with confidence and a continued commitment to COVID safe practices. To support businesses in maintaining those practices and showcasing their desire to protect staff and customers, the New Mexico Tourism Department is supporting a new NM Safe Certified Program. The program offers “free on-demand virtual COVID-Safe Practices training modules designed to help businesses create a safe and responsible environment for employees and customers.” The certification helps promote COVID safety while functioning as “a recognizable brand across all industries to assist in building consumer confidence.” The program offers a range of trainings targeted to specific types of businesses (restaurants, retail, salons) as well as other benefits,
such as access to a PPE procurement collective and digital advertising credit of up to $2000 in New Mexico Magazine.
Education: budget cuts and re-opening recommendations
As the special legislative session kicks off, schools are awaiting final decisions on budgeting that will impact their funding during the coming year. The budget adjustments required by the impact of the coronavirus on all sectors of the economy, including the oil and gas revenues on which the state depends heavily, have the potential to decrease funding for some educational programs and resources. According to Santa Fe School Superintendent Veronica Garcia, as quoted in the NM Political Report, proposed cuts could compel larger “classroom size, reduce[d] programming” and fewer support staff “such as social workers, librarians, nurse aides and nurses.”
Amidst these concerns, the School Re-entry Task Force submitted its recommendations for reopening schools to the New Mexico Public Education Department yesterday.
The recommendations, which are brief, make broad suggestions around issues such as safety, hygiene, meals, and transportation, but shy away from precise directives or specifics of implementation. According to the the introductory statement from the Task Force, the New Mexico Public Education Department will be incorporating these suggestions into what will presumably be a more detailed guidance document for districts, such as those created by other states.
El Valle Community Center plans commodities distribution for seniors
The El Valle Community Center is working to become a local distribution hub for the ECHO commodities program that provides free food for local seniors who meet the income and regional guidelines. The ECHO program (Economic Council Helping Others), which is part of the larger commodities supplemental food program, would serve residents in the El Valle corridor and nearby communities as far east as Bernal, but would not include Las Vegas. If you or someone you know is interested in participating in the program, or you would like to help volunteer with the distribution, please email the center or call 575-421-0808. Make sure to leave your name and phone number - we will be in touch!!
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