State to begin targeting problem stores, restaurants when it comes to COVID-19

Coronavirus New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The coronavirus is winning in New Mexico. Those words Tuesday from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, who announced new rules for dining, retail stores, and any business where the COVID outbreak keeps happening. New Mexico now has one of the highest COVID spread rates in the nation and hospitals are filling up.

Starting Friday, if a business records four rapid responses in a 14-day period, the business must close for two full weeks. “This applies to food and drinks establishments, retail establishments, places of lodging, close contact business like gyms and salons are other examples…basically everyone. This is how we can crack down on where the virus is spreading,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said in a COVID-19 update Tuesday.

Other changes include stricter measures at restaurants. Restaurants and breweries will have to complete a training program by the end of the month to stay open, spot test employees, and keep a log of all dine-in customers to help with contact tracing. All retail stores must now close by 10 p.m. That includes grocery stores and big-box stores but not pharmacies.

Also, state-operated museums and historical sites will close. Here’s why the number of COVID-19 cases is bad. New Mexico’s rolling average is 533, our goal is 168. Last week, New Mexico had 832 rapid responses, when last month was just 128. The biggest concern, 81% of general hospital beds are taken, that’s 2,339 people in the hospital. As of Monday, 183 of those people were COVID-19 patients.

“It’s really because we let our guard down because it is a vicious, invisible enemy. It’s an exhausting process with very little tools except modifying our behavior to attack,” said the governor.

The governor also says restaurants remain a top source of spread according to contact tracers. Before you visit a store, the state is now going to make it easier for you to find out if they’ve had a high number of rapid responses by publishing a list. The governor, once again, stresses to only visit three locations a day.

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