FAQ (June 1): New Mexico’s Public Health Emergency Order due to COVID-19

Coronavirus Resources

The purpose of the amended Public Health Emergency Order is to further restrict business operations and public gatherings to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus in New Mexico. The initial public health emergency order was announced on March 23, 2020.

June 1 Updates

Masks will be required of everyone in public places, with exceptions for eating, drinking and exercising and medical requirements. All Together New Mexico COVID-Safe Practices for Individuals and Employers must be in place to operate.

Remain Closed

  • Bars

25% Maximum Occupancy

  • All Retailers, including Big-Box Stores
  • Hose of Worship
  • Non-essential businesses (office spaces, call centers). Employers should continue to work from home and telework policies whenever possible.
  • Hair Salons, Barbershops, Tattoo Parlors, Message Services, Nail Salons
    • Accepting clients on appointment-only basis
  • Indoor Malls
    • Loitering prohibited; food courts remain closed

50% Maximum Occupancy

  • Restaurants, including indoor dine-in service
    • Bar and counter seating prohibited; no standing service
    • 6′ distance between tables w/seated customers
    • No service stations
  • Gyms
  • Pools for lap-swimming, lessons of up to two students and adhere to CDC guidelines for Pools, Hot Tubs and Water Playgrounds
  • Personal Training for up to 2 Trainees
  • Hotels

Open with Safe Guidelines in Place

  • State parks for day use only. Camping areas, visitor centers, and large enclosed indoor spaces remain closed
  • Golf courses
  • Outdoor tennis facilities
  • Summer Youth Programs on limited basis
  • Drive-in Theaters


14-day quarantine order for airport arrivals amended to permit certain business travel under COVID-Safe Practices

Q: Does this apply to all counties in New Mexico?

A: Yes

Q: Can I still seek non-essential medical care like eye exams, teeth cleaning, ect.?

A: Generally, you should postpone these if possible. Check with your provider of routine care for specific guidance because they may cancel their services. You should not expose yourself or others for health care or maintenance care that can wait a few weeks. 

Medical practitioners may gradually resume operations in compliance the guidelines entitled “Reopening Guidelines: Medical Offices” on the NMDOH website.

New Mexico dentists may resume providing non-essential dental care provided they agree to comply with guidelines developed to protect the supply of personal protective equipment..

Q: What does the Public Health Emergency Order mean?

A: New Mexico citizens need to stay home and undertake only outings that are absolutely necessary for their health, safety, or welfare. That means only go to the grocery store or pharmacy when you need to go. 

Q: Is this mandatory or just guidance? 

A: The “Public Health Emergency Order” is mandatory to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 in New Mexico. 

Q: How long is the order in effect? 

A: The order is in effect unless otherwise amended.

Q: Why was this order issued? 

A: This is a critical intervention to help reduce and minimize the spread of coronavirus in New Mexico. 

Q: Is there a curfew associated with this order? 

A: No 

Q: Do I have to perform social distancing at home with my family? 

A: No. However, Gov. Lujan Grisham says families that are more than five need to rework their daily routines. “Can you split up? Can three of you go for a walk in the morning? Can three of you go for a walk in the afternoon? Can two of you go to the grocery store? Because if you see what’s happening, whole families are going to the grocery store and they’re coming in contact with other large families… that’s a risk. They’re putting themselves at risk and I’m wanting those families to be safe. I don’t want them to be sick.” 

Q: Are there any exemptions to the 5-or-more rule? 

A: Yes. If five or more people live together, they are exempt inside their residence.  

“Mass gathering” does not include individuals who are public officials or public employees in the course and scope of their employment.

Q: My school is providing free grab-and go meals, instructional materials and supplies and child care. Are those still open?

A: Yes (see the Complete List of New Mexico School Meal Sites)

Q: What happens if I don’t comply with this order? 

A: New Mexico State Police is in the position to hold businesses and people accountable. In the event businesses are not compliant, officers will:

  • First issue a written warning along with a cease and desist order.
  • On a second violation the business will receive a citation under the Public Health Act
  • A third or subsequent violation will be sent to the Department of Health where business will face a civil penalty of up to $5000.00.

“Public Health Act” according to New Mexico statue: “means an infection, a disease, a syndrome, a symptom, an injury or other threat that is identifiable on an individual or community level and can reasonably be expected to lead to adverse health effects in the community;”

Q: Who do I contact to report non-compliance?

A: Use one of the following options:

  • Call the non-emergency COVID-19 hotline at (833) 551-0518, option 9
  • Email NMSP.COVID19@state.nm.us, include: date and time of observed violation, city, county, business name and business address.
  • Contact your police or sheriff’s department on their non-emergency phone lines

Q: What will be closed?

A: See New Mexico Public Health Emergency Order for Essential & Non-Essential Businesses

Q: Are childcare services still open? Can my babysitter come to my house? 

A: Yes. Child care facilities necessary to provide services to people that work in essential businesses and nonprofit entities can continue to operate. Child care services are also available to serve families with young children when parents are involved with protective services, behavioral health and/or juvenile justice services. However, child care facilities that remain open must have heightened cleaning and social distancing requirements.

Q: Can food establishments like restaurants sell convenience items to the public?

A: Yes. As of April 7, the New Mexico Economic Development says that food establishments like restaurants can sell products like toilet paper and other convenience items through take-out and delivery options.

Q: Can I buy alcohol at a liquor store?

A: Yes, as of the amended order, they are a retail space and are to follow the retail operation order.

Q: Should I stock up on food, necessities like toilet paper and medicines? 

A: No. People will continue to be able to purchase food, toilet paper and medicine. However, people should only go to the grocery store once per week. Stores selling necessary items like grocery stores, pharmacies and hardware stores will remain open. 

Q: Will there be a limit on items I can purchase?

A: Yes. 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 to three items per individual of:

  • Medications
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Baby formula
  • Diapers
  • Sanitary care products
  • Hygiene products

Q: Can small businesses or stores deliver your online order to your home or do they have to go through a shipping company? (Example: furniture stores)

A: Furniture stores can deliver. Non-essential retailers will be able to operate via curbside pickup and delivery service where permitted by their license.

Q: Can realtors still show houses for sale? Can you still sell or buy a home?

A: Yes. Realtors can show a house if there are no more than 5 people in the home.

Q: Are car washes still open?

A: Contactless car washes, which are those that do not require person-to-person interaction between customers and employees, are permitted to operate.

Q: Will contractors, technicians, etc. have to wait in line or will they be able to jump ahead of the line?

A: No. They would have to wait in line.

Q: Can I still go outside for a hike or walk? 

A: Yes. However, you must maintain a distance of 6-feet and cannot be in a group of five or more. 

Also, state parks can reopen on a modified day-use-only basis depending on what staff is available. Camping and visitor centers will remain closed.

Golf courses and outdoor tennis courts will be allowed to open.

Q: Can I travel to donate blood? 

A: Yes. The FDA is urging people to make blood donations. Vitalant has four blood donation centers across the state. Call 1-877-258-4825 or go to vitalant.org to make an appointment before you go. Also, if you are sick, do not donate.

Q: Will public roads be closed? 

A: No. All streets, roads and highways will remain open, unless new orders are authorized by the governor.

Q: Can I still get my mail and deliveries? 

 A: Yes. Mail is considered an essential government function. Businesses that deliver goods or services directly to residences are considered essential businesses. 

Q: Can I take my dog for a walk or to the vet?

A: Yes, you can walk your dog as long as you’re following the social distancing rules. You can also take your dog to the vet, emergency veterinary services are exempt from the orders. 

Q: Have other states issued the same order?

A: Yes. As of March 22, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Illinois have issued similar orders. 

Q: Can I visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing homes etc.?

A: No. Existing orders of the Health Officer addressing the emergency prohibit non-necessary visitation to these kinds of facilities. This is difficult but is necessary to protect hospital staff and other patients.

FAQ for Faith-bases Communities

Q: Are houses of worship open?

A: Check with your church, but the governor announced as of May 13, houses of worship may operate at 50% occupancy.

Q: What if a congregation has a lot of members without computers or internet access. What should we do?

A: Mailed newsletters, pre-recorded messages from trusted leaders on a designated call-in telephone number, and printed copies of daily teaching guides will help you stay connected to those without internet access.

Q: I am planning a funeral. How can I include as many people as possible while still adhering to social distancing and crowd size requirements?

A: Livestream the funeral so people can attend remotely. Immediate family may be there in person while others participate from home. Include live chat for those who may not have a webcam at home but still want to be involved. Use email and other digital means to distribute the funeral program, written eulogy, and family photos and videos.

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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