SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – On Saturday, New Mexico with the exception of Cibola, San Juan and McKinley Counties, will take the next steps to slowly reopen. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham also announced that everyone in New Mexico will have to wear masks or face coverings starting Saturday, May 16 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The next phase of reopening the state includes limited in-person operations for offices and retailers. “New Mexico, we expect you to have COVID-safe practices. Your employees and staff are wearing masks and anything else that works at stopping the spread of the virus,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham.
What will change on May 16?
- All retailers may operate at 25% of fire code capacity; COVID-safe practices must be in place to operate, including big box stores.
- Non-essential businesses (office spaces, call centers) may operate with up to 25% of pre-crisis staffing levels. Employers should continue to work from home and telework policies whenever possible.
- Houses of worship may operate at 25% occupancy.
- Masks will be required of everyone in public places, with exceptions for eating, drinking and exercising and medical requirements.
- Additional state parks and certain outdoor recreation guides with COVID-Safe Practices
The definition of a retailer is any business that sells goods directly to the ultimate consumer or end-users. Retail spaces do not include wholesalers or suppliers. Retails spaces also do not include entertainment venues such as movie theaters, concert halls or amusement parks.
What will stay the same on May 16?
- New Mexicans must remain home except for outings essential for health, safety and welfare, especially elderly and vulnerable individuals.
- Gatherings of more than five people remain prohibited and 6 feet of physical distance from others must be maintained
- Locations and services where high-intensity contact is unavoidable – such as gyms, salons and dine-in service at restaurants and bars – will remain temporarily closed. Limited in-person operations for those types of businesses could be included in the next modification of the public health order, as soon as early June, depending on New Mexico’s rate of COVID-19 transmission, testing capacity and other gating criteria.
- Other high-intensity contact services that must remain closed include indoor malls, massage and tattoo parlors, theaters, casinos.
- 14-day quarantine order remains in place for out-of-state airport arrivals.
- Vacation rentals prohibited to out-of-state residents.
- Visits to long-term care and other congregate care facilities remain restricted.
According to the governor, New Mexico is on track with gating criteria data to begin easing into some re-openings and move into Phase 1. She also said that they will continue to let public health data be their guide when it comes to reopening.
However, the governor says the spread of the virus dictates the timeline of when the state can move into the next phase of reopening. Officials hope that is by early June, which means they can slowly start to reopen salons, gyms, indoor malls, and limited dine-in at restaurants.
Dr. David Scrase of the Human Services Department also says they are learning more about how the virus affects children. He says kids up to the age of 19 are accounting for 13% of coronavirus cases in New Mexico. “Pay particular attention to abdominal symptoms or nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. Those symptoms are more prominent in kids,” said Dr. Scrase.
McKinley, San Juan and Cibola Counties
The three northwestern New Mexico counties, McKinley, San Juan and Cibola, remain a COVID-19 hotspot are exempt from the new order. However, they will be allowed to move into the preparation phase that began two weeks ago for the rest of the state.
The preparation phases for those counties mean, non-essential retailers may provide curbside pickup or delivery; golf courses, pet and veterinary services may open; and gun stores may operate by appointment. The order to stay home except for essential outings remains in place for the three northwestern New Mexico counties.
Summer youth programs will be allowed this year but with restrictions.
- In-person summer programs and sports camps are restricted to a 5-to-1 child to adult ratio.
- Student and staff groupings should be self-contained, the same children staying with the same staff, not mixing between groups.
- High-risk staff and children must be informed on the need for additional actions (such as not attending or having additional restrictions, including contact with high-risk family members.
- Sports programs are also restricted to contactless sports only and non-competitive play.