By Associated Press

Published: Friday, August 7th, 2020 at 11:36am

Updated: Friday, August 7th, 2020 at 11:36am

FILE – In this Aug. 11, 2016, file photo, green chile from Hatch, N. M., goes on sale at a roadside roasting stand in Santa Fe, N.M. Organizers of the annual Hatch Chile Festival said Monday, July 6, 2020, that COVID-19 had forced the cancellation of the event for the first time in its 49-year-old history. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee,File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico green chile distributors say health restrictions amid the pandemic are forcing them to sell chiles directly to the public.

KOB-TV in Albuquerque reports distributors have no choice but to sell directly because many restaurants are operating differently during the pandemic.

Quality Foods, for example, will be buying chile directly from New Mexico farmers and selling it to the public right outside its Albuquerque facility.

“The way this is going, I don’t see us using 50% of our usage of last year,” said Louie Gonzales, owner of Quality Foods.

“We have them call in an order they drive up,” said Nazario Sandoval, co-owner of Quality Foods. “We take it to their hatchback and their trunk, and we don’t have contact with them.”

On Thursday, New Mexico health officials said there were 212 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 21,773. Officials said two more people have died from the virus, bringing the state death total to 669.

As of Thursday, there were 138 people hospitalized in New Mexico for COVID-19.

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