New Mexico celebrates Easter at home under new restrictions

New Mexico celebrates Easter at home under new restrictions

The doors at San Felipe de Neri Catholic Church in the Old Town historic district of Albuquerque, New Mexico, remain closed Thursday, April 9, 2020. (Credit: Susan Montoya Bryan/AP.)

Church pews were empty across New Mexico as residents celebrated Easter at home amid a prohibition on public gatherings that was extended this weekend to houses of worship.

SANTA FE, New Mexico — Church pews were empty across New Mexico as residents celebrated Easter at home amid a prohibition on public gatherings that was extended this weekend to houses of worship.

About 850 people logged onto a live Facebook feed Sunday of Easter Mass celebrations at St. Francis Cathedral led by Archbishop John Wester, who highlighted philanthropic efforts by the Catholic Church. Wester has been supportive of social distancing initiatives and directives, noting that the virus “doesn’t take a day off for Good Friday or Easter Sunday.”

Across town, online services at a Unitarian Universalist church highlighted the unknown outcome of coronavirus testing at a center for the homeless. The city of Santa Fe has relocated some residents from homeless shelters to vacant dormitories at a city-owned college campus to facilitate social distancing as the homeless seek shelter.

New Mexico reported 1,245 known coronavirus cases with 26 deaths as of Sunday.

Infection rates remain highest in the northwest section of the state that includes a portion of the Navajo Nation. Quay County along the Texas state line has its first confirmed infection.

The state has identified infections among staff or residents or both at several assisted living centers for the elderly and other congregate care facilities. They include Advanced Health Care, Central Desert Behavioral Health, Good Samaritan Manzano del Sol, La Vida Llena and Uptown Genesis in Albuquerque; Aztec Health Care in Aztec; Beehive Homes in Farmington; and Legacy Santa Fe in Santa Fe.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s aggressive approach to the health crisis put her in the national spotlight on a Sunday television news broadcast.

She told CNN that the state is looking at economic recovery options, but it is unlikely to reopen the economy before health officials identify a peak in coronavirus infections.

Lujan Grisham was asked whether she wants to be the Democratic Party’s vice presidential candidate alongside presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden.

“I want to be the governor of New Mexico,” Lujan Grisham responded. “I will do whatever it takes to support a Biden administration. And I’m looking forward to a federal administration that can do a national strategy in good times and in bad times both.”

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