New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she would not stop protests in the state despite coronavirus concerns but warned that door-to-door campaigning is a “terrible idea” during the pandemic.
“We are not going to use COVID or anything else to prevent a peaceful protest, but we are not going to let them be excuses for political organizing for the sake of a political party or individual getting ready for the election,” Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, said during a press conference Tuesday.
She added a public health order that bans “mass gatherings” until the end of August, “including reminding candidates that they can’t be going door to door. That is just a terrible idea in a COVID world.”
Following the news conference, the governor’s office backtracked her comments and said politicians wouldn’t be banned from campaigning in such a way if they are wearing face masks and following social distancing guidelines.
In July, Lujan Grisham signaled that she opposed people protesting amid the pandemic, saying the virus is “a significant risk.”
“Young, old, however you would define that, people should not be doing these protests with COVID-19,” the governor said. “COVID is a significant risk, and these pose a significant challenge.”
Protests and riots against police brutality and racism have been ongoing across the country since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.
Over the weekend, hundreds of protesters gathered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to denounce federal officers who were deployed to various cities in an effort by the Trump administration to stem violence caused by riots.