Local COVID News

Local COVID News

The state’s operative emergency public health order will expire Friday, Oct. 16; it will be extended, with amendments.     Masks must still be worn in all circumstances!

The governor and state health officials will, effective Friday, Oct. 16, append the following changes to the public health order and associated public health guidance documents:

TEMPORARY CLOSING TIME

Any food or drink establishment in New Mexico serving alcohol must close at 10:00 p.m. each night. The governor’s Economic Recovery Council, which has advised her administration on re-opening strategies to strengthen and sustain the state’s workforce and economy through this crisis, made the recommendation for this mandatory closing time.

“New Mexico hotels and restaurants and our hospitality employees have suffered more from COVID than any other sector,” said Allan Affeldt, hotel and restaurant owner and member of the Economic Recovery Council. “In spite of that, the overwhelming majority of hotels and restaurants are in support of the state’s COVID-Safe Practices and are doing our best to keep our guests and staff safe so our economy can recover faster. Unfortunately, there are some restaurants and bars that blatantly disregard public safety by operating late and in gross violation of safe practices and common sense. These business owners threaten the survival of all businesses in the state and the health of their customers and staff. These problems nearly all occur after hours, when some restaurants are simply acting as bars, where spread of the virus is not inhibited. Because of this, I and many of my fellow hotel and restaurant operators are in full support of a temporary limit on operating hours for late-night restaurants and bars. Together we can get all New Mexico businesses open sooner if we take these simple steps to help limit viral spread.”

Other states – including Kentucky, Ohio, South Carolina and Washington – have enacted similar closing times for places of business selling alcohol in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 in those establishments. The state, which issues liquor and restaurant licenses to food and drink establishments, will rigorously enforce this requirement.

HOTEL OCCUPANCY

Maximum occupancy restrictions will be reduced to 60 percent for places of lodging that have completed the N.M. Safe Certified training program and to 25 percent for places of lodging that have not completed the training program – a reduction of maximum occupancy from 75 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

QUARANTINE

The governor will amend her executive order that requires a period of mandatory self-quarantine for individuals arriving into New Mexico from out of state. Individuals arriving from “higher-risk states,” or those with a test positivity rate exceeding 5 percent and a test positivity rate higher than 80 per 1,000,000 residents, will no longer be exempt from the period of mandatory self-quarantine if they test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their arrival into New Mexico. All individuals arriving from those higher-risk states – a list of which is updated each Wednesday – must self-quarantine for a period of no less than 14 days or for the duration of their stay in New Mexico, whichever is shorter.

MASS GATHERINGS

Mass gatherings of more than 5 individuals are once again prohibited. Previously the state had allowed gatherings of more than 10 individuals. A “mass gathering” is defined as any public or private gathering, organized event, ceremony, parade, organized amateur contact sport, or other grouping that brings together individuals in an indoor or outdoor space.

The governor and state health officials are scheduled to discuss the extended public health order and other COVID-19 data in the state’s regular COVID-19 public update Thursday; additional details about that event will be disseminated later this week.

Masks must be worn in all circumstances!