NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The governor of Texas made a big announcement Tuesday regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, announcing there will no longer be a mask mandate in the state and all businesses will open. So could those drastic changes impact New Mexico cities along the border with Texas? The mayors of Las Cruces and Hobbs said on Wednesday that they’re concerned New Mexicans will cross state lines which, in turn, could have a negative impact on the health and economy of their cities.
“I don’t want those dollars to go to Texas,” said Sam Cobb, the mayor of Hobbs. “I want them to stay in our local community, support our local businesses. And I do have a concern about a potential resurgence in the virus.”
“I know it’s tempting,” said Ken Miyagishima, the mayor of Las Cruces. “I know our residents have been cooped up in their homes a lot, please consider supporting our local businesses, do take out, drive-thru.”
Both mayors said their respective counties are headed in the right direction when it comes to the state’s county-by-county Red to Turquoise framework. However, they’re concerned with Texas’ new executive order their progress will be erased. Both mayors said they, and a handful of other mayors across the state, want the governor to allow some capacity of indoor dining even in the red level to give those businesses a fighting chance.
Meanwhile, the New Mexico Department of Health said the state will continue to use measures to save lives, including upholding the mask mandate, contact tracing, and testing. “We do not believe this is the time to back off on any of those restraints,” said Dr. David Scrase in a Wednesday webinar. “Or any of those procedures that restrain the spread of the virus.” NMDOH also said they will be monitoring developments in New Mexico’s border counties closely.
Cody Johnson, a spokesperson with New Mexico’s Tourism Department sent the following statement on Texas’ executive order:
“New Mexico remains committed to suppressing the spread of the virus through wearing a mask, social distancing, and encouraging New Mexicans to get vaccinated. The New Mexico Tourism Department continues to inform the tourism industry about the public health order and the state’s “red to green” framework that eases restrictions in a responsible manner.”
Texas’ new executive order goes into effect on March 10. That’s the same day New Mexico will reveal the updated red to turquoise levels for each county.