The court case began as a standoff between state environmental regulators and Jalisco Cafe in Silver City over its alleged refusal to cease indoor dining service despite sanctions and a permit suspension.
Other businesses entered the fray: K-Bob’s Steakhouse restaurants in Raton and Las Vegas, Trinity Hotel in Carlsbad, the Red River Brewing Co. in Red River — as well as the New Mexico Restaurant Association.
New Mexico is faring better against virus infections than neighboring Arizona and Texas.
As of Tuesday, it had the lowest average rate of positive tests in the western U.S., according to an analysis by The Associated Press of data collected by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering. The number of average daily deaths is hovering between four and five statewide.
Separately, a bevy of lawsuits have been filed by small businesses that are seeking compensation from the state for financial losses linked to pandemic health orders.
Aside from the burdens for the businesses and their workers, Tupper Schoen, general manager of The Pantry restaurant in Santa Fe, said he expects customers will continue to be wary of indoor dining.
“I do believe that there are many, many people who would not choose to go indoors still, but they would go out on the patio to eat,” he said.