Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham

The governor’s economic plan is threefold and includes continuing to fight the novel coronavirus, she explained to the NAIOP Rio Rancho Roundtable in a Zoom webinar Tuesday.

“These are unprecedented times,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

New Mexico has lost thousands of businesses in the state due to the effects of the pandemic, she said.

“One, we are going to keep crushing the virus, keep doing everything that you are, and in fact, NAIOP members every single day are creating some of the toughest, most productive COVID-safe business practices in the world. And I am incredibly proud of you for that, and to stay the course, we need your input,” Lujan Grisham said.

Second, the governor’s economic task force is looking into short- and long-term proposals for COVID-safe practices and a blueprint for economic recovery, she said. The coming 60-day legislative session will primarily be about economic recovery, she added.

“Three, we have to access the funds that are available to shore up our businesses. We have to think about it; I know I do. We can’t lose another one; we should all take that a bit personally. Our livelihoods, state’s economic prosperity and stability depends on all of us thinking through what we can do in a pandemic,” Lujan Grisham said.

She said considering the pandemic, unemployment numbers are stabilizing at 11.3 percent for August. This is an improvement from 12.7 percent in July.

In addition, she said retail jobs have nearly recovered and hospitality is beginning to see recovery.

Retail trade is up 0.8 percent compared to last year. Leisure and hospitality report a 28.9 percent loss in employment compared to last year, according to New Mexico Workforce Connection. This is a loss of about 29,700 jobs in leisure and hospitality.

“We are going to have to rebuild the state back,” Lujan Grisham said.

She explained her decision to not allow indoor dining for a time to NAIOP members: “Remember, people bring (COVID-19) to the place of business; businesses’ buy-in largely are doing things that create greater risk. You just get a human and there is risk,” Lujan Grisham said.

She told those in the virtual meeting that when deciding between reopening businesses or helping reduce New Mexico’s COVID-19 numbers, she will always err on the side of saving lives.

“Impatience is not an effective public-health strategy,” she said.