SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) –  In a surprise announcement Thursday, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham says she is ending New Mexico’s indoor mask mandate. The governor says the state and country are trending in the right direction when it comes to COVID-19.

“I’m announcing that the mask requirement for indoor settings is gone,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said Thursday. “If you’re not vaccinated, I don’t know if it’s the best idea, but it is no longer an indoor setting requirement. Several lawmakers in the same room cheered the decision while others let out audible exhales.

The governor made the sudden declaration during a news conference centered on the end of the 2022 legislative session Thursday afternoon. When asked about masking in schools, Governor Lujan Grisham confirmed the decision also applies to students in public schools.

“Those are personal decisions that families will make,” Governor Lujan Grisham said Thursday when asked to elaborate on the mask mandate and consideration over continuing to apply it to schools. The governor says she will continue forward with COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

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The mask mandate will still apply to areas with more vulnerable populations like hospitals, nursing homes, and congregate care settings.

Implemented in efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, New Mexico has been under an indoor mask mandate since August 2021. On Thursday, the state reported 999 new COVID-19 cases.

The move comes as several Democratic-lead states have recently ended or announced plans to end their mask mandates including California, Oregon, Washington and Delaware among others. California most recently ended its mask mandate on February 15.