FAQ: What you need to know about New Mexico’s Public Health Emergency Order

Coronavirus Resources

New Public Health Order expires Nov. 13

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 11, 2020.


General Information


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

A: Yes

Q: What changed in the Oct. 20 update?

A: Gov. Lujan Grisham announce the following changes effective Friday, Oct. 23:

  • Businesses that incur four rapid responses – which occur when an employer reports, as required, an incidence of COVID-19 in the workplace to the state Environment Department, which oversees state occupational health and safety efforts – over a two-week period will be required to close for two weeks. 
    • This closure requirement will apply to food and drink establishments, close-contact businesses, retail spaces, places of lodging and other places of business presenting an extreme public health risk as determined by the Department of Health.
  • All retail establishments must close by 10 p.m. each night, in alignment with the state’s requirement that food and drink establishments serving alcohol must close by 10 p.m.
  •  State museums and historical sites will close effective Friday, Oct 23. 
  • Food and drink establishments that complete the New Mexico Safe Certification training program may continue to offer limited indoor dining at a maximum of 25% occupancy as of Friday, Oct. 30. Food and drink establishments that are not New Mexico Safe Certified as of Friday, Oct. 30, may continue to provide outdoor dine-in service at 75% of maximum occupancy with tables at least six feet apart among other required COVID-Safe Practices but may not provide indoor dine-in service.

Q: What’s else remains?

Travel

If individuals traveling into New Mexico, whether a visitor or residents, come from high-risk states – those states that have a positive test rate higher than 80 per 1,000,000 residents or a test positivity rate greater than or equal to 5%, over a seven-day rolling average, or from outside the United States, You must self-isolate or self­-quarantine for a period of at least 14 days from the date of your entry into the State of New Mexico or for the duration of your presence in the State, whichever is shorter

Lodging

“Places of lodging” which have completed the NM Safe Certified training offered at https://mnsafecertified.org may operate up to 60% of maximum occupancy. All other “places of lodging” shall not operate at more than 25% of maximum occupancy. Healthcare providers who are engaged in the provision of care to New Mexico residents or individuals utilizing “places of lodging” for extended stays, as temporary housing, or for purposes of quarm1tining shall not be counted for purposes of determining maximum occupancy.

A: Mandatory face-coverings in public will be aggressively enforced. Businesses must require customers to wear face-coverings. Violators are subject to $100 fine

  • Houses of worship may operate at 40% of maximum occupancy of any enclosed building Houses of worship may, as before, conduct services outdoors or provide services through audiovisual means.
  • Food and drink establishments (including restaurants, breweries, wineries, distillers, cafes, coffee shops or other similar establishments) may provide indoor dining service at 25% of maximum occupancy and outdoor dining can operate at 75% capacity.
  • Mass gatherings of more than 5 individuals are prohibited.
  • Food and drink establishments may continue to provide outdoor dining options, carryout and delivery services. Tables – inside or outside – must be spaced at least six feet apart, and no more than six patrons are permitted at a single table.
  • State Parks are closed to out-of-state residents
    • Visitors must show one of the following to demonstrate residency:
      • Valid New Mexico license plate,
      • New Mexico driver’s license or ID card,
      • New Mexico vehicle registration,
      • Federal document attesting to residency, or
      • Military identification
  • There will be no contact sports (football, soccer, wrestling) for Fall Sports
    • Other non-contact sports are under review
    • Fall sports will not happen if schools cannot re-open

Q: How long will the new PHO run through?

A: November 13, 2020

Q: What remains closed?

A. Bars, Casinos, Film & Television, state museums and historical sites

Q: What are New Mexico travel restrictions?

A: See FAQ: Executive Order Traveling to New Mexico

Q. Are face-coverings required?

A: Yes. All individuals shall wear a mask or multi-layer cloth face covering in public settings except when eating, drinking, or swimming.

Businesses may not allow a person who is without a mask or multi-layer cloth face covering to enter the premises except where that person is in possession of a written exemption from a healthcare provider. Violators are subject to $100 fine


Businesses


Q: What time does businesses and retail establishments need to close by?

A: Food or drink establishment in New Mexico serving alcohol must close at 10 p.m. each night. Starting Oct. 23, all retail establishments must close by 10 p.m. each night in alignment with food and drink establishments.

Q: After how many rapid response visits will a business get shut down?

A: Businesses that incurs four rapid responses – which occur when an employer reports, as required, an incidence of COVID-19 in the workplace to the state Environment Department, which oversees state occupational health and safety efforts – over a two-week period will be required to close for two weeks.

This closure requirement will apply to food and drink establishments, close-contact businesses, retail spaces, places of lodging and other places of business presenting an extreme public health risk as determined by the Department of Health.

Q: How does a restaurant or business get New Mexico Safe Certified?

A: A business can get certified by filling out a form at https://nmsafecertified.org/.

Q: What are the opening occupancy for businesses?

25% Maximum Occupancy

  • In-door food and drink establishments (including restaurants, breweries, wineries, distillers, cafes, coffee shops or other similar establishments)
  • All Retailers, including Big-Box Stores
  • 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 an appointment-only basis
  • Indoor Malls
    • Loitering prohibited; food courts remain closed
  • Museums with static displays
  • Places of lodging that have not completed the NM Safe Certified training
  • Private educational institutions serving children and young adults from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th Grade.
  • Gyms

40% Maximum Occupancy

  • Houses of Worship

60% Maximum Occupancy

  • Places of lodging which have completed the NM Safe Certified training

75% Maximum Occupancy

  • Restaurants, Breweries for outdoor dining only

Q: What will be closed?

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

Q: What are the “Open with Safe Guidelines” guidelines?

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.


Parents


Q: Will there be any youth games or competitions this fall?

A: No. Competitive play and scrimmaging are not permitted.

Q: Are youth sports practices allowed?

A: Yes. In person programs and sports must be restricted to no more than 5 individuals, including coaches, staff, and parents, and limited to youth who live in the local geographic area only (within a 50-mile radius).

Sports activities must be restricted to conditioning and skills development.

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

A: Yes. Child care facilities that remain open must have heightened cleaning and social distancing requirements.


Other


Q: What is “Mass Gatherings” mean?

A: “Mass gathering” means any public gathering, private gathering, organized event, ceremony, or other grouping that brings together five (5) or more individuals in a single room or connected space, confined outdoor space or an open outdoor space.

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: Why was this order issued? 

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

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

A: Yes, Real Estate Services would fall under #9 under “I HEREBY DIRECT” section:

Any business that is not identified as an “essential business”, “close contact business”, “food and drink establishment”, “house of worship”, “indoor recreational facility”, “outdoor recreational facility”, or “place of lodging” may open provided that the total number of persons situated within the business does not exceed 25% of the maximum occupancy of any enclosed space on the business’s premises, as determined by the relevant fire marshal or fire department.


Q: Can I overnight camp?

A: New Mexicans may overnight camp at most state parks in groups of no more than 5. See: Camping & COVID: What New Mexico State Parks, Lakes are Open

Q: Can I still go for a hike or walk at a State Park? 

A: Yes but all individuals are to wear a mask or face-covering in public settings except when eating, drinking, or swimming.

State Parks are not open for out-of-state visitors. New Mexican’s will have to provide proof residency or will face fines with one of the following:

  • Valid New Mexico license plate,
  • New Mexico driver’s license or ID card,
  • New Mexico vehicle registration,
  • Federal document attesting to residency, or
  • Military identification

New Mexican’s 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.

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

Q: Are pumpkin patches open?

A: Yes. Pick-your-own pumpkin patches will be permitted to operate in accordance with COVID-Safe Practices for agri-tourism businesses.

Q: Can I go ice skating?

A: Ice skating rinks may operate for athletic training and practice by reservation only.

Q: Can I go to the bowling alley?

A: Bowling alleys may open for league play only and must adhere to 25% occupancy.

Q: Can I visit loved ones at nursing homes?

A: Yes. However, there are some requirements.

  • There can be no active COVID-19 cases in the facility.
  • Visitors must be healthy
  • Social distancing required
  • Appropriate PPE must be worn
  • Visits by appointment only

Existing visitation guidance will remain in effect. This means closed window visits and telephonic/virtual visits are encouraged. Both parties wearing masks will be 6-feet apart. Residents unable to wear a mask will have to be 12-feet apart from the visiting party.


New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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

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