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Outgoing mayor asks for lockdown of Gallup

Outgoing mayor asks for lockdown of Gallup

GALLUP

Outgoing mayor of Gallup, Jack McKinney, has asked New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to allow a lockdown of the city.

“I respectfully ask that you declare a state of emergency pursuant within the boundaries of the city of Gallup,” McKinney wrote in an April 30 letter to Gov. Grisham. “This request is being made as a result of COVID-19 outbreak in our community, which constitutes an unprecedented heath crisis.”

McKinney, in the letter, said the governor could invoke the Riot Control Act due to the outbreak of the virus being a “crisis of the highest order.”

“The virus has caused many deaths, stretched medical facilities and resources to their capacity, and adversely impacted the welfare of the city of Gallup, “ McKinney said.

If Lujan Grisham grants the request, a lockdown of the city could begin as early as Friday morning and last for three days, which could prevent shoppers from entering the city during the first of the month weekend.

McKinney made the request a day before he exits his seat, as incoming mayor-elect Louis Bonaguidi was being sworn in on Thursday afternoon.

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The number of confirmed cases in McKinley County, as of Thursday, has reached 1,027 with 19 deaths, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.

Joe Vigil, chief of public affairs for the New Mexico National Guard, said the guard has not been notified of any missions regarding McKinney’s request.

Vigil said the National Guard would not comment on McKinney’s request.

Navajo Nation Council Delegate Edmund Yazzie said he supports the shutdown if the governor grants the request.

“I am for it,” Yazzie said. “We still have not learned to stay at home and stay put. I keep hoping our people realize that this virus is serious.”

Mayor-elect Bonaguidi was sworn in on Thursday during a ceremony that was closed to the public.

After he was sworn into office, the mayor-elect said he was taking office during the height of a pandemic that was sweeping through the county at an alarming rate.

“I come into public service at a very strange time,” Bonaguidi said. “Our Iives are not normal. We’ve never see the likes of it in this country. It’s an unusual situation.

This week, McKinley County became the location of the highest number of COVID-19 cases in New Mexico, he said.

“All of us have been stressed,” he said.

Bonaguidi said he and his family have been tested after coming in contact with people who may have had the virus. The tests were negative, he said.


About The Author

Donovan Quintero

"Dii, Diné bi Naaltsoos wolyéhíígíí, ninaaltsoos át'é. Nihi cheii dóó nihi másání ádaaní: Nihi Diné Bizaad bił ninhi't'eelyá áádóó t'áá háadida nihizaad nihił ch'aawóle'lágo. Nihi bee haz'áanii at'é, nihisin at'é, nihi hózhǫ́ǫ́jí at'é, nihi 'ach'ą́ą́h naagééh at'é. Dilkǫǫho saad bee yájíłti', k'ídahoneezláo saad bee yájíłti', ą́ą́ chánahgo saad bee yájíłti', diits'a'go saad bee yájíłti', nabik'íyájíłti' baa yájíłti', bich'į' yájíłti', hach'į' yándaałti', diné k'ehgo bik'izhdiitįįh. This is the belief I do my best to follow when I am writing Diné-related stories and photographing our events, games and news. Ahxéhee', shik'éí dóó shidine'é." - Donovan Quintero, an award-winning Diné journalist, served as a photographer, reporter and as assistant editor of the Navajo Times until March 17, 2023.

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