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

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 11, 2020.

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

A: Yes

Q: What changes in the July 30 update?

A: The order is extended through the next 30 days, expiring August 28 and the following definitions have been updated:

  • “Close-contact business” now includes group fitness classes
  • Wineries and distillers are now grouped in with “Food and drink establishments”

Q: What’s else remains?

A: Phase II re-opening is on hold

  • Indoor seating at restaurants and breweries are prohibited
    • Restaurants and breweries may have outdoor seating at 50% occupancy
    • May continue carry-out/delivery
    • Breweries may continue curbside pickup
  • 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
  • All restrictions and occupancy limits remain in place: outdoor and patio seating at 50% occupancy for restaurants, breweries. All Together New Mexico COVID-Safe Practices for Individuals and Employers must be in place to operate.
  • 14-day mandatory quarantine for all out state visitors. This includes air travel and travel by vehicle
  • Mandatory face-coverings in public will be aggressively enforced. Businesses must require customers to wear face-coverings. Violators are subject to $100 fine

Q: How long is this new PHO will run through?

A: August 28

Q: What remains closed?

A. Bars, Museums and Cultural Institutions, Casinos, Film & Television

Q: What are New Mexico travel restrictions?

A: Mandatory 14-day quarantine for all people entering the state, regardless of travel means (ie: air travel, vehicle travel)

Q. Are face-coverings required?

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

Businesses may not allow a person who is without a mask or multilayer 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

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: 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: What are the opening occupancy for businesses?

25% Maximum Occupancy

  • All Retailers, including Big-Box Stores
  • Houses 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, Breweries for outdoor dining only
  • 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

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

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

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: 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 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 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: 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 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. 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 and wearing a mask or face-covering in public. You can also take your dog to the vet, emergency veterinary services are exempt from the orders. 

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.


FAQ for Faith-bases Communities

Q: Are houses of worship open?

A: Check with your church, but the governor announced as of June 12, houses of worship may operate at 25% 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 Resource Guide

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

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