Travel quarantine hard to enforce, some find it confusing

Coronavirus New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – New Mexico’s governor ordered a 14-day quarantine for any out of state travelers or New Mexicans who leave the state and come back but unlike New York, there are no forms to fill out or officers waiting at the airports or state line. So how is our quarantine being enforced? Monday the governor was interviewed by The Washington Post about how she’s handling the travel quarantine and enforcement.

“You should not have reservations from any folks out of state unless they affirm that they’re clear they have to stay in that cabin the entire 14 days before they can go out,” said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in an interview with the Washington Post.

The governor announced the travel quarantine on July 1. If you travel from out of state to New Mexico you must self isolate, or quarantine for at least 14-days, or the duration of your stay here if it’s shorter than two weeks. An information table at the Sunport is supposed to inform people about the quarantine, but airport workers say it’s been manned sporadically. It just has a pamphlet with information for travelers.

Hotel Andaluz saying in the last two weeks they’ve seen a 20% drop. They say people from out of state are confused by the order and think they have to quarantine for the full two weeks and can’t stay just one night. Hotel Parq Central is seeing the same drop in reservations and confusion. They have put up signage in the hotel to tell visitors about the rules. Many people however wonder, how is this even enforced.

“The hard part about enforcing it is we’re not at every airport, people are driving in I do not know, and if one of our hospitality industry partners does not hold them accountable I may or may not know about that situation,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham in the same interview.

The governor has asked hotels to police their guests. News 13 asked the governor why officers or teams aren’t stationed at every airport and the state line. Her spokesperson provided the following statement:

The Department of Health has the ability to get a court order to mandate quarantine if someone is found to be flagrantly non-compliant. Enforcement is not easy. No one will pretend that it is. No one will pretend anything about this pandemic and keeping New Mexicans healthy and alive is easy. The only tool we have to begin with is to make the requirement and set the expectation and proceed from there. As the governor has discussed repeatedly, obviously as a state we do not have the resources to force people to self-isolate for 14 days like other countries have done, but that is because of the negligent lack of a federal response to this pandemic and states being left to pick up the slack however best they can.

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