ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – For many Fourth of July is a weekend full of large family gatherings, picnics, and parades. With the latest public health order, all of that is prohibited. However, that isn’t stopping some people from trying to get around it. Rebecca Latham is excited to spend the Fourth of July with family. “Fourth of July is such a great holiday,” Latham said. “Our family has always done something big to celebrate.”
That means participating in Nor Este Estates’ third-annual parade that about 200 people attend. “Traditionally, we do a non-motorized parade,” Latham said. “The kids dress up and decorate their bikes.”
This year will look different with social distancing in place. People will spectate from their yards, while people walk down the street maintaining a six-foot distance and wearing masks. Cars will follow along. “Just earlier, me and my friend were sorting all the accessories we are going to put on my dad’s truck for the parade tomorrow,” Rebecca’s daughter Alana said.
However, the governor said that is not allowed. “You cannot do that this weekend,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said at her news conference Wednesday.
The governor made it clear this week that parades are prohibited this holiday weekend. “We have asked every community to cancel their parades unless there is no spectators and everybody is wearing masks and you are in your cars,” Lujan Grisham said. “Even then, it still creates a risk. Why does it create a risk? Because you got outside of your home to start with.”
The Mayor of Grants is also breaking the governor’s orders as he is set to host their parade Saturday morning, but Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace said it is a protest, not a parade. “It is just a bunch of patriots getting together to celebrate their independence and peacefully celebrate… Peacefully protest what is going on in our state,” Mace said.
Latham said she is doing her best to respect the governor’s orders while still celebrating the fourth with family. “I haven’t given thought to if we are breaking the law because I do not think we are,” Latham said. “We are being respectful. We are complying. We are just driving our cars around our neighborhood.”
News 13 asked the governor’s office about the neighborhood parade Friday and they re-emphasized that parades are explicitly prohibited in the most recent public health order. As for the Grants parade, New Mexico State Police said the Department of Health gave a cease-and-desist letter to the Grants city manager Thursday directed at the mayor.