EL PASO (KTSM) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state health officials announced on Thursday the extension of the state emergency public health order and keep intact existing public health restrictions and guidelines while the state continues to combat the spread of COVID-19.
The emergency public health order retains the state’s public health prohibition on mass gatherings and keeps in place temporary indoor occupancy restrictions for certain businesses, particularly indoor “close-contact” businesses such as restaurants and gyms.
Also unchanged is the statewide requirement that all individuals wear face coverings in public and that business operators require customers to wear face coverings upon entrance.
The governor will also renew her executive order mandating a temporary quarantine for individuals traveling into the state.
According to New Mexico health officials, the statewide rolling 7-day case average has increased 41% since July 1; the 7-day average has been steadily increasing since mid-June.
New Mexico health officials also reported COVID-19 fatalities have risen week-over-week – the state Department of Health reported 36 COVID-19 deaths the week ending July 25 and has reported 25 already this week, through Wednesday.
“We’re still not where we need to be as a state, but we are seeing some hopeful signs of stabilization,” said Human Services Secretary David Scrase, M.D. “Unfortunately, stabilizing at a high level of daily case counts will result in sustained pressure on state resources, will result in too many illnesses and too much risk. We’ve got to stay the course and drive down the spread of infection in our state. We all know the steps we can take to do that: Stay home, avoid groups of people, wear a mask, keep six feet apart from others and wash your hands frequently.”
The extended public health order streamlines the categories of business operations.
Officials said wineries and distilleries will now be classified alongside other food and drink establishments such as restaurants, meaning they may operate under the same requirements: Outdoor and patio seating is permitted while indoor seating and service is not and outdoor tables must be separated by six feet of distance, among other COVID-Safe Practices required for restaurants and eateries.
“Personal behavior is the essential factor right now,” Lujan Grisham said. “Countless New Mexicans have made so many incredible sacrifices to reduce the spread of the virus in their communities – and yet too many New Mexicans are still gathering in groups, not wearing face coverings and taking undue risks. The state’s public health requirements reflect everything we know to work in reducing the opportunity for the virus to spread. In short, we have everything in place that can and will get our state back to a better and steadier place in our fight against this virus – if and only if New Mexicans make and continue to make the right individual and collective decisions.”
The emergency public health order signed by Health Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel is effective for 30 days through Aug. 28.
New Mexicans seeking food, economic or health care help – or personal help in any number of areas – are encouraged to visit http://www.newmexico.gov/i-need-assistance/.
New Mexico small businesses seeking assistance applying for the various programs established by the state may call the state’s information hotline, 1-833-551-0518, and select option #2.