Local businesses can open a limited capacity

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With the new red to turquoise framework, businesses that have remained closed throughout the entire pandemic, are now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Bars with patios and movie theaters will now be allowed to open Friday at a limited capacity.

Carri Phillis owns both Salt Yard East and West, along with Effex in downtown Albuquerque. Her bars have been forced to remain closed for more than a year. Now, under the new framework, bars with a patio can now open outside only, at 25% capacity. For the time being, Phillis says they’re going to focus on reopening the west side location because it has a larger patio.

“We’re not in a hurry for west side,” said Salt Yard owner Carri Phillis. “It is our priority to get open, but it’s about three or four weeks out, we’re going to take it slow and do it right,” said Phillis.

Phillis says there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done before she can welcome guests back, like cleaning the place up, setting up furniture, and making sure they’re operating in a COVID-safe way. If Bernalillo County goes turquoise next week, bars could allow 33% inside and 75% on patio space.

Meanwhile, Flix Brewhouse says they can’t afford to reopen at a 25% capacity. On top of that, they’re currently working on negotiations with their landlord, so their reopening is on hold until they can get that squared away.

Keif Henley, the owner of The Guild Cinema in Nob Hill says he was expecting some changes to the framework, but he was surprised by Wednesday’s announcement. “I was caught off guard, I saw something like this happening in terms of the color codes, as vaccinations went up, but I thought there’d be more lead time than this,” said Henley.

Henley says he’d like to reopen his theater by featuring local films that have been streaming on The Guild’s website, but he needs permission from the filmmakers first. He says next Friday he’ll be offering this year’s Oscar-nominated short films, and possibly some late-night movies.

Meanwhile, other large entertainment venues, including concert and sports venues can also have 25% capacity indoors and 50% outdoors in the ‘green’ tier. Even with the 50% capacity allowance, New Mexico United said for their upcoming home matches, they can only fit about 30%.

“So really the thing that is keeping us from being at the full 50 percent isn’t necessarily the capacity limit, its the social distancing requirement,” said a spokesperson for New Mexico United, David Carl.

With six feet of social distancing in place, they said they can have about 3,700 fans compared to approximately 6,500 fans at 50%.

Century Rio 24 announced Thursday morning that they’ll be re-opening Saturday. Face masks will be mandatory for all guests in the theater. Green counties can have 25% of capacity in turquoise, it can go to 33% inside a movie theater.

KRQE News 13 reached out to the Albuquerque BioPark to see if the Aquarium will reopen. The BioPark said that they plan on reopening soon but don’t have a date set.