SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) –Starting Monday, state workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or regularly submit test results showing they don’t have the virus. This policy applies to 17,000 state employees in a wide range of agencies. The governor’s office says each agency is creating its own process for verifying vaccinations and making sure employees who refuse the vaccine get tested.

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“This policy is just going into effect today so they’re still ironing out those details, making sure that they have processes in place that work best for the employees they know best. But the best way to maneuver this process is simply just by getting vaccinated,” says Nora Meyers Sackett, the press secretary for the office of the governor. 

Officials are also urging businesses to pass vaccine and testing mandates for their workers. 

“We really do encourage other private employers, other sectors across the state to work with your employees, and put in place policies that really prioritize public health and safety,” Sackett explains. “It’s the best thing for New Mexicans. It’s the best thing for those businesses’ bottom line as well, keeping people safe and healthy.”

State employees who have chosen not to get vaccinated will be required to wear masks indoors, while also providing a negative COVID test every two weeks. 

Workers refusing to follow COVID testing requirements could be suspended or fired, but the governor’s office did not elaborate on how the discipline would work. 

No word yet on how long that order will be around. The governor’s office believes about 70% of state workers are vaccinated.