An emergency declaration was issued Friday and set to expire noon Monday, but on Sunday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that the lockdown would be extended until at least Thursday to help quell the spread, a statement from her office said.
A statement from Grisham's office said that Gallup Mayor Louis Bonaguidi requested the extension "to continue the aggressive physical distancing in the community and thus mitigate transmission of Covid-19."
Riot Control Act invoked
Gallup sits along historic Route 66 in McKinley County, about 20 miles from the state's border with Arizona. To the north lies the Navajo Nation and to the south the Zuni Reservation.
That northwestern portion of the state represents the highest number of cases, according to a map provided by the New Mexico Department of Health.
Due to the high case count Gov. Lujan Grisham invoked the State's Riot Control Act to shut down the city of Gallup on Friday.
"The spread of this virus in McKinley County is frightful," Lujan Grisham said when the emergency was declared last week. "And it shows that physical distancing has not occurred and is not occurring. The virus is running amok there. It must be stopped, and stricter measures are necessary."
The act authorizes the governor to prohibit people from being on or using public streets and highways during a temporary state of emergency.
As a result, all roads into the city have been closed. The Gallup City police and the McKinley County Sheriff's Department have partnered with state police and the department of transportation to enforce road closures. The New Mexico National Guard has also been called into to support the efforts in a non-law enforcement capacity, a release from the governor's office said.
Other restrictions in Gallup include a limit of only two people per car and businesses are only operating between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. All residents are encouraged to stay in their homes unless they need to leave for an emergency.
Highest case count
As of Sunday night, 1,144 people had tested positive for coronavirus in McKinley County, a count which increased by more than 100 cases in just four days.
3,850 positive cases and 151 deaths have been reported statewide, according to the New Mexico Department of Health website.
The county accounts for nearly 30% of the state's cases and has the highest concentration of positives cases in New Mexico.
Mayor Bonaguidi said in a letter Sunday to Gov. Lujan Grisham that the extension of the act was needed to fight the continued spread of the virus.
"The virus has caused many deaths, stretched our medical facilities and resources to their capacity, and adversely impacted the welfare of the City of Gallup," Bonaguidi said. "Our community is unable to adequately address the outbreak without the continued imposition of certain restrictions necessary to regulate social distancing, public gatherings, sales of good, and the use of public streets."