ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – We’re learning more about the state’s full reopening on Thursday and what it means for the City of Albuquerque and why some COVID-19 restrictions still may be in place. According to the city, Bernalillo County is about 63.9% fully vaccinated and the city is ready to reopen.
“This is a milestone for Albuquerque and a reflection of the hard work Burqueños have put into turning the corner on this virus,” said Mayor Tim Keller in a press release. “Albuquerque has been a leader in the Southwest, remaining one of the healthiest cities throughout the pandemic. Now we have a new distinction; we’re ready to open quickly and safely.”
“We’re at a point where we’re looking at reopening and looking at some semblance of normalcy. And it’s one of those catchphrases over the last fifteen months that we’ve all talked about but we’re at that moment. And it’s because everybody’s worked so hard together,” said Dr. Mark DiMenna, with CABQ’s Department of Environmental Health.
Soon, city employees will be back at city hall and other facilities at nearly 100% capacity. On July 1, the city will also do away with social distancing guidelines. Masks will only be required for unvaccinated people, except in certain situations.
“In areas where there’s kids, you might have to wear a mask. An example is Explora, other kid’s programs. Buses, mask, because it’s a federal regulation. Airport, mask, because it’s a federal regulation. Other than that there shouldn’t be places that are mandatory unless a private entity or business requires a mask,” said Mayor Keller at a press conference.
“The City of Albuquerque stepped up to continue and increase many services during the pandemic. We knew how important access to green space, meals, and youth programming were to families,” said Lawrence Rael in a press release, chief operating officer for the City of Albuquerque. “Now, whether it’s bringing the family to the pool or sitting down for breakfast at a senior center, we are excited to return to pre-pandemic operations and safely serve more of our community across City facilities and recreational areas.”
The city noted the following changes coming July 1:
- Pools and animal shelters no longer require reservations
- Community and Multigenerational Centers reopen fitness rooms
- Museums will continue timed ticketing for now, but capacity restrictions are lifted and visitors can book times online or in person
- Large special event permitting is now being approved
- City special events are returning to the Rail Yards, BioPark and Old Town.
- The BioPark, Albuquerque Museum, and Balloon Museum will resume facility rentals
- Elena Gallegos and Carolino Canyon spaces open for reservations
- Parks and Recreation public events and programs resume or return to full capacity including summer hikes, concerts, clean-up events, explorer camp, teen trek, family nature club, service learning projects, and the youth corps.
- Weeklong Summer Adventure Camps at Balloon Fiesta Park, with archery, disc golf, mountain biking, and more have reopened.
- City BMX track returns to full programming
- The Department of Senior Affairs adds breakfast service and high-impact fitness back into programming and is waiving fees for existing senior center members.
A spokesperson with the Albuquerque BioPark said it will keep capacity limits but increase it from 600 per half hour to 1,600 people per hour. The city said some things it will keep from the pandemic are timed ticketing, some virtual programs, and senior to-go meals. Employees who were repurposed during the pandemic to help with enforcement like COVID inspections are returning to their original jobs.