NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday signed an executive order that requires all state employees to either be fully vaccinated or otherwise submit to regular COVID-19 testing. The order will take effect Monday, August 2. According to a news release, state employees who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test at least once every two weeks.
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State employees who are not fully vaccinated must also wear a facemask when indoors. The release also states that employees who do not comply may be subject to disciplinary action, including termination, in accordance with applicable law. They’ll be required to show proof that those tests have come back negative each time.
“Right now, it’s very simple: Get a vaccine, or else you will be tested,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham in a news release. “There will be no quarter for this virus within state government offices. I will not tolerate any unnecessary risk within the workforce under my authority. And I strongly encourage other New Mexico government agencies and private sector employers to consider doing the same.”
One man said that rules are rules. “When you work for somebody else you have to abide by their rules – if I work for an employer and they make that as a mandate, I have the option of either doing it or finding other employment,” the man said.
The governor estimates about 70% of employees working in state facilities have been vaccinated and on top of that, 80% of state corrections employees have received their shots.
The governor called on the private sector to follow the state’s lead and come up with a similar policy, mandating vaccines for their employees. When asked what kind of tough decisions the governor may be forced to make, she mentioned the possibility of another statewide mask mandate.
Right now, it’s recommended by the CDC that vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks indoors in high transmission areas which includes 14 New Mexico counties. The governor says she does not expect that she will have to limit access to businesses again.