ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After more than a year of COVID-19 related restrictions, New Mexico is fully reopened. People are excited. “Yahoo! Very good. I’ve been waiting for this. I hope everybody’s safe,” said one Albuquerque resident.
“I prayed for this day. I mean we’ve been pretty careful and have done what we’ve needed to do. And we’re really excited, New Mexico, the numbers have been where they’ve been. We’re looking forward to a day post-coronavirus,” said Kirk Walker, another Albuquerque resident.
Thursday, the state removed all restrictions on capacity limits and mass gatherings. The requirements for social distancing and the state’s county-by-county color-coded system are also gone.
Following CDC guidelines, masks are still required for unvaccinated people. Businesses are still allowed to require employees or guests to wear masks. In Nob Hill, some people were walking wearing masks and others were maskless. Some businesses had signs explaining CDC mask policies, while one had a sign simply saying masks are preferred in their business.
Some said they’re vaccinated and comfortable without a mask but won’t ditch them completely just yet. “It depends on the situation. If I’m going into a place, a small place, I wear my mask out of respect for the people that are there. I have a mask in my pocket because sometimes, you know, you just don’t know how people will feel,” said Steve Stevens, an Albuquerque resident.
“If I ran a business and I wanted people to wear masks I would hope they would respect that. So when I go to someplace and they say we want you to wear masks, no matter what your vaccination status is, I’m happy to wear a mask,” said Walker.
Meanwhile, fans of Albuquerque Isotopes say they couldn’t turn down the chance to be at a game Thursday night, given the significance. “I didn’t plan on it. My wife called me at 5:30 and said ‘hey do you want to go watch an Isotopes game’ and before she could get the invite out, I was like yes, let’s go,” said fan Derek Gutierrez.
As of Thursday, about 62% of New Mexicans 16 and older are fully vaccinated. However, the state is still encouraging eligible New Mexicans to get their shots.
The next drawing for the state’s Vax 2 the Max Sweepstakes is on Friday, July 2. In the month of June, there were 76 COVID-19 related deaths. Two of those were of people who were fully vaccinated and with underlying health conditions.