On Friday, it was announced that Papas Pawn & Gun in Grants, New Mexico was fined a hefty $60,000 fine, which appears to be the highest amount any business has been fined for defying Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s strict orders during COVID-19.
But according to the pawnshop, they have been practicing social distancing with their business and got fined regardless. According to pawn shop owner Diane Row, “On Monday, six or seven State Police officers surrounded my small shop, and it was really upsetting.” She continued, “That was a total show of force. They came to give me a court summons, treated me like I was a criminal, not a shop owner. Later I got a notice from the State that I was being fined $60,000. My husband is a veteran who is disabled and we don’t have any employees. This fine will kill us. It’s the end. I don’t know what to do.”
The Republican Party of New Mexico responded on Friday afternoon, writing, “This was a violation of Rowe’s civil rights and Constitutional rights and another unjust action against businesses trying to survive, both as a result of policies decreed by Gov. Lujan Grisham. Rowe believes her treatment is disgraceful and says other businesses who depend on local consumers will soon be obsolete.”
“The governor continues to show favoritism for big box stores, taking millions of New Mexico dollars out of state, and neglecting the little guy, local businesses who keep our local economies humming. The governor refuses to acknowledge that small businesses, like Papas Pawn & Gun, can provide and maintain social distancing and other health measures just like the national chains, that are packing shoppers in their aisles daily. This is blatant preferential treatment by the Lujan Grisham Administration.”
The news comes one day after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham relaxed some restrictions on New Mexicans, but the news of Papas Pawn & Gun store refutes any progress the Governor may have made in easing New Mexicans’ fury with her administration and their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday, Gov. Michele Lujan Grisham ordered a lockdown of McKinley County, San Juan, and interestingly, Cibola County also. McKinley and San Juan are being hit hard by COVID-19, but Cibola, with only 52 positive COVID cases. Cibola, where Papas Pawn is located in Grants, seems to be directly targeted by the Governor. Grants Mayor Martin “Modey” Hicks previously rebuked her strict stay-at-home orders, which appears to be adding to her retribution.