Update May 13: New Mexico Public Health Emergency Order for Businesses/Retailers

Coronavirus Resources

On May 15, 2020, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Department of Health announced the Public Health Emergency Order set to expire May 15, will be extended through May 31. The order has been modified to allow all retailers to operate at 25% of their maximum occupancy as determined by fire code.

The three counties – McKinley, San Juan and Cibola – are exempt from the new order but will be allowed to move into the preparation phase. In those counties, non-essential retailers may provide curbside pickup or delivery; golf courses, pet and veterinary services may open; and gun stores may operate by appointment. However, the order to stay home except for essential outings remains in place.

Changes May 15 are reflected below:

  • All retailers may operate at 25% of fire code capacity; COVID-safe practices must be in place to operate this includes 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.

What will remains closed:

  • Dine-in restaurants and bars (except for curbside/delivery)
  • Indoor malls, gyms, salons, theaters and casinos
  • Vacation rentals prohibited to out-of-state residents
  • Visits to long-term care and other congregate care facilities remain restricted

Additional Addendum:

  • New Mexico dentists in all but three counties (Cibola, McKinley, San Juan) may resume providing non-essential dental care provided they agree to comply with guidelines developed to protect the supply of personal protective equipment
    • The Phase I Reopening Guidelines for dentists were developed by the New Mexico Medical Advisory Team in collaboration with the New Mexico Dental Association. They include a personal protective equipment burn rate calculator dental providers can use to determine how quickly they are using up personal protective equipment like masks, face shields, gloves and gowns.
  • State parks to reopen on a modified day-use-only basis as staff is available. Camping and visitors are still closed
  • Pet services (adoption/groomers/daycare/boarding) permitted to operate.
  • Veterinarians permitted to operate
  • Golf courses allowed to open for golf and retail under new orders
  • Gun stores can operate by appointment only given need for background checks
  • New guidelines for healthcare practitioners regarding non-essential surgeries
  • Vacation rentals prohibited to out-of-state residents.
  • Visits to long-term care and other congregate care facilities remain restricted.

Reopening New Mexico

March 15 the state issued All Together New Mexico: COVID-Safe Practices for Individuals and Employers with guidelines and requirements for conducting business in New Mexico during COVID-19

  • Employer General Guidelines, pages 9, 10
  • Retail, page 11
  • Office, page 14
  • Farmers Markets, pages 15, 16
  • Youth Programs, pages 17, 18, 19
  • Houses of Worship, pages 28, 29
  • Farms and Ranches,  pages 30, 31
  • Animal Shelters, Animal Rescue, pages 32, 33, 34

Retail Businesses

A “retailer” is any business that sells goods directly to the ultimate consumer or end-users and does not include wholesalers or suppliers, not does it include entertainment venues such as movie theaters, concert halls, or amusement parks

  • All retailers may operate according to COVID-Safe Practices (“CSPs”) at 25% fire code occupancy
  • Non-essential businesses (other than retailers; such as office spaces, call centers) generally may operate according to CSPs at up to 25% of pre-crisis staffing levels. All employees should continue to work from home wherever possible
  • Houses of worship may operate at 25% occupancy
  • Additional state parks and certain outdoor recreation guides with COVID-Safe Practices
  • Masks will be required of everyone in public places, with exceptions for eating, drinking and exercising and medical requirements.
  • If customers are waiting outside of a “retail space”, they must to do so in compliance with social distancing protocols including the requirement that they maintain a distance of at least six-feet from other individuals, avoid person-to-person contact.
  • Retailers should take appropriate action consistent with this order to reduce hoarding and ensure that all New Mexicans can purchase necessary goods.
  • Federally licensed firearm dealers may operate to the extent necessary to conduct background checks and to allow individuals to take possession of firearms that were ordered online or through other remote means. They shall provide these services by appointment only. They shall provide these services by appointment only. Shooting ranges may open by appointment and shall ensure that appropriate social distancing measures are in place.

General Operations/Facilities

  • This Order requires the closure of physical office spaces, retail spaces, or other public spaces of a business and does not otherwise restrict the conduct of business operations through telecommuting or otherwise working from home in which an employee only interacts with clients or customers remotely.
  • Self-storage facilities should reduce operations to the minimum number of employees necessary to ensure public access to storage units and adequate security for storage units, including a 100% reduction in permanent on-site workforce whenever possible.
  • This Order does not limit animal shelters, zoos, and other facilities with animal care operations from performing tasks that ensure the health and welfare of animals. Those tasks should be performed with the minimum number of employees necessary, for the minimum amount of time necessary, and with strict adherence to all social distancing protocols.

Medical Practitioners

Medical practitioners may gradually resume operations in compliance with guidelines provided by the New Mexico Department of Health. The guidelines shall be entitled “Reopening Guidelines: Medical Offices.”

For purposes of this Order, “non-essential health care services, procedures, and surgeries” include those which can be delayed without undue risk to the patient’s health. Examples of criteria to consider in distinguishing between essential and non-essential actions include:

  • (a) threat to a patient’s life;
  • (b) threat of permanent dysfunction of an extremity, including teeth, jaws, and eyes;
  • (c) risk of metastasis or progression of staging; and
  • (d) any other factors that will conserve medical resources without creating an undue risk of harm to patients.

It is ultimately the role of the practitioner and the patient to determine what treatments and procedures are non-essential under these broad requirements and the determination will vary by patient and over time.

Casinos/Horse Racing

  • All casinos shall close during the pendency of this Order. This directive excludes those casinos operating on Tribal lands.
  • Horse racing facilities may operate without spectators.


  • Vacation rentals prohibited to out-of-state residents
  • Short-tenn vacation rentals shall limit guests to New Mexico residents only.
  • Hotels, motels, RV parks, and other places of lodging shall not operate at more than 25% of maximum occupancy. Health care workers who are engaged in the provision of care to New Mexico residents or individuals utilizing lodging facilities for extended stays, as temporary housing, or for purposes of a quarantine or isolation period shall not be counted for purposes of determining maximum occupancy.
  • Short-term vacation rentals, apartments, and houses are not permitted to operate except to provide housing to health care workers who reside out of state but are engaged in the provision of care to New Mexico residents.

Required COVID-Safe Practices for all Employers:

  • Make hand-washing, sanitizer, and other hygiene support available to employees
  • Screen employees before they enter the workplace each day (verbally or with a written form or app) – send employees home who are experience COVID-19 symptoms
  • Prohibit employees with known close contact to a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19 to remain to work until the end of the 14-day self-isolation period
  • Minimize non-essential travel – adhere to all CDC guidelines and state orders regarding isolation following out-of-state travel
  • Adhere to all CDC and OSHA guidelines

Essential Businesses

“Essential business” means any business or non-profit entity falling within one or more of the categories listed below.

Please note: When “retail space” is referenced below, it means an “essential business” that sells good or services directly to consumers or end-users inside its place of business, such as a grocery store or a hardware stores and includes:

a. Health care operations including hospitals, walk-in-care health facilities, veterinary and livestock services necessary to assist in an emergency or to avoid an emergency (such as vaccinations), pharmacies, medical wholesale and distribution, home health care workers or aides for the
elderly, emergency dental facilities, nursing homes, residential health care facilities, research facilities, congregate care facilities, intermediate care facilities for those with intellectual or developmental disabilities, supportive living homes, home health care providers, and medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers;

b. Homeless shelters, food banks, and other services providing care to indigent or needy populations; (see Faith-bases Communities in FAQ: Public Health Emergency Order)

c. Childcare facilities necessary to provide services to those workers employed by essential businesses and essential non-profit entities;

d. Grocery stores, supermarkets, food banks, farmers’ markets and vendors who sell food, convenience stores, and other businesses that generate the majority of their revenue from the sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet food, feed, and other animal supply stores, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products; (see alcohol in grocery stores and limit occupancy in FAQ: Public Health Emergency Order)

In order to minimize the shortage of health care supplies and other necessary goods, grocery stores and other retailers are hereby directed to limit the sale of medications, durable medical equipment, baby formula, diapers, sanitary care products, and hygiene products to three items per individual.

Retailers should take appropriate action consistent with this order to reduce hoarding and
ensure that all New Mexicans can purchase necessary goods.

e. Farms, ranches, and other food cultivation, processing, or packaging operations;

f. All facilities routinely used by law enforcement personnel, first responders, firefighters, emergency management personnel, and dispatch operators;

g. Infrastructure operations including, but not limited to, public works construction, commercial and residential construction and maintenance, airport operations, public transportation, airlines, taxis, private transportation providers, transportation network companies, water, gas, electrical, oil drilling, oil refining, natural resources extraction or mining operations, nuclear material research and enrichment, those attendant to the repair and construction of roads and highways, gas stations, solid waste collection and removal, trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal, sewer, data and internet providers, data centers, technology support operations, and telecommunications systems;

h. Manufacturing operations involved in food processing, manufacturing agents, chemicals, fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, sanitary products, household paper products, microelectronics/semi-conductor, primary metals manufacturers, electrical equipment, appliance, and component
manufacturers, and transportation equipment manufacturers;

i. Services necessary to maintain the safety and sanitation of residences or essential businesses including security services, towing services, custodial services, plumbers, electricians, and other skilled trades;

j. Facilities providing pet adoption, grooming, daycare, or boarding services;

k. Media services including television, radio, and newspaper operations;

l. Automobile repair facilities, bike repair facilities, and retailers who generate the majority of their revenue from the sale of automobile or bike repair products. Contactless car washes, which are those that do not require person-to-person interaction between customers and employees, are permitted to operate.

m. New and used automobile dealers may sell cars through internet or other audiovisual means but they may not allow customers in showrooms;

n. Hardware stores; (see limit occupancy in FAQ: Public Health Emergency Order)

o. Laundromats and dry cleaner services;

p. Utilities, including their contractors, suppliers, and supportive operations, engaged in power generation, fuel supply and transmission, water and wastewater supply;

q. Funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries;

r. Banks, credit unions, insurance providers, payroll services, brokerage services, and investment management firms;

s. Real estate services including brokers, title companies, and related services;

t. Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;

u. Laboratories and defense and national security-related operations supporting the United States government, a contractor to the United States government, or any federal entity;

v. Restaurants, but only for delivery or carry out and local breweries or distillers but only for carry out; (The New Mexico Environment Department’s Food Program concurs that selling grocery items for purchase alongside take-out and delivery items is in compliance with state and federal restaurant regulations.)

w. Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, but only where necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities; and

x. Logistics, and also businesses that store, transport, or deliver groceries, food, materials, goods or services directly to residences, retailers, government institutions, or essential businesses.

Essential businesses may remain open provided they minimize their operations and staff to the greatest extent possible. Further, all essential businesses shall adhere to social distancing protocol and maintain at least six-foot social distancing from other individuals, avoid person-to-person contact, and direct employees to wash their hands frequently. All essential businesses shall ensure that all surfaces are cleaned routinely.

“Essential businesses” may remain open provided they minimize their operations and staff to the greatest extent possible. Further, all essential businesses shall adhere to social distancing protocol and maintain at least six-foot social distancing from other individuals, avoid person-to-person contact, and direct employees to wash their hands frequently. All essential businesses shall ensure that all surfaces are cleaned routinely.

New Mexico Coronavirus Resources

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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