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The KUNM news team's coverage of the 2020 legislative session and its impacts

YNMG & COVID: Business As Unusual

Pixabay via CC

Now that the state is slowly relaxing the shutdown orders, some are considering getting back to business. In episode 67 we talk with small business owners and those who support them about how they have to come up with innovative ways to sell to their customers, get their employees back, keep the lights on and keep everyone safe. We hear from restaurant owners, a statewide business incubator, a journalist and Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley.

Katherine Lewin, a journalist with the Santa Fe Reporter, tells us about her article The Band-Aid Loans, which explores the complexities of accessing federal Paycheck Protection Program loans to keep New Mexican businesses and employees afloat.

Diego Diaz and his father David tell us how their plans to open a new Peruvian restaurant, Tio David’s Peruvian Flavorwere sidelined by pandemic closures, but they're opening anyway in early June. Diego Diaz talks about how they plan to operate with safety measures in place.

Lauren Green, owner of The Grove Cafe & Market, tells us how she has pivoted to stay in limited operation during the shutdown and what a second closure could mean for her business and other restaurants.

Sarah Ciccotello and Chris McQuary, owners of The Burque Bakehouse, talk about what it’s been like to remain open under pandemic orders and their future plans.

Margarita Guarin, bilingual regional manager of WESST Enterprise Center,tells us how WESST  is helping Spanish-speaking and immigrant small business owners survive the pandemic closures.

Bill McCamley, Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutionstalks about the rules for workers with pre-existing conditions who are worried about having to go back to their workplaces. 

And in local news:

In New Mexico, officials announced 127 more confirmed cases, making the total 7,252, according to the Santa Fe Reporter. The Northwestern corner of the state and Bernalillo County make up the bulk of the new cases. Officials also reported four additional deaths, bringing the New Mexico death toll to 329.

Yesterday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that restaurants could offer outdoor service starting today. In Albuquerque, city officials are permitting sidewalk seating and waiving the fee for outdoor seating applications. The city is also trying to work with businesses to create outdoor seating in parking lots, the Albuquerque Journal reports, and is considering using Civic Plaza or the Rail Yards for outdoor dining.

The governor has said the state is on track to open other industries like gyms and barber shops on Monday, June 1. There’s a press conference about it tomorrow afternoon.

Find a full list of the resources we talk about on each episode + opportunities to donate or help online at: bit.ly/ynmghub. Here's what we got from today.


  • Read Katherine Lewin’s comprehensive story “The Band-Aid Loans” in the Santa Fe Reporter
  • If you have a business or are looking to start one, the people at WESST can help guide you in that process and they're offering free courses in English and Spanish: www.wesst.org
  • Head to www.nmrestaurants.org for info on the New Mexico Restaurants Association
  • And here's where to find guideance for employers and workers on the Workforce Solutions site

How are things going for you? We'd love to hear about it. Share your pandemic stories by calling (505) 218-7084 and leaving us a message. We could roll them into a future episode.

Your New Mexico Government is a collaboration between KUNM, New Mexico PBS, and the Santa Fe Reporter. Funding for our coverage is provided, in part, by the Thornburg Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the New Mexico Local News Fund.

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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