Several hundred people gathered Friday outside Backstreet Grill in Old Town Albuquerque to protest Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s latest mask mandates.
Grisham announced earlier this week that masks must be warn at indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status until at least mid-September.
Backstreet Grill made headlines earlier this year when it defied masking regulations, spurring the state to suspend its food permit and issue thousands of dollars in fines. The restaurant was forced to shut down— only to re-open in further defiance of the governor.
Backstreet Grill appears ready to do it again.
New Mexico resident, mother, and teacher Corrine Rios pulled no punches in a speech that criticized the governor as vehemently as she criticized small business owners who did the governor’s dirty work.
“The government cannot take your rights away,” she said. “YOU GIVE THEM AWAY!”
Rios gave a brief history of America’s founding and the balances of power created by our Founding Fathers. She explained how a bill must originate in Congress, earn majority approval from both houses, and receive the final signature of the president in order to become a law. (As we just reported) the process at the state level is no different.
“Did any mandate in the state of New Mexico originate in the state house?” she asked the cheering crowd, who yelled back, “NO!”
She said neither the state nor federal legislature has passed a law requiring masking as a condition of commerce or vaccinations as a condition of employment. Because there are no such laws, the mandates are meaningless.
“The governor is having you do her dirty work,” Rios told small business owners in the crowd. She pointed to the fact that Grisham hasn’t issued instructions on how to deal with those who refuse to wear masks or to provide vaccination status. “She’s banking on you doing it for her,” Rios said.
“Businesses, please: stay open!”
A resident named Linda also spoke, saying she was recently terminated by Southwest Wellness Medical Cannabis center for refusing to get a COVID vaccination. She called on fellow patriots to boycott not only Southwest Wellness, which operates throughout the state, but any business that denies you a choice in your personal health.
New Mexico gubernatorial candidate Ethel Maharg was in attendance, as was Carla Sonntag of the New Mexico Business Coalition and The New Mexico Sun, who shared a few words.
“We are in this together. Divided, she wins,” Sonntag said, referring to the governor.
Albuquerque mayoral candidate Eddy Aragon closed out the event, calling on mask and vaccine opponents to stick together and put aside their internal political differences.
He called on businesses and individuals to hold out against the mandates, to fight for freedom, and to be willing to give up everything for that freedom, “because without it we have nothing.”
“You have to be fearless,” he said. And that includes “boycotting people who oppose your freedom.”