Additions Made to Public Health Emergency Order


"Closed" signs are a common sight as more restrictions have been put into effect regarding public health and safety due to COVID-19.

On Monday, April 6, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced additional restrictions under the public health emergency order made regarding COVID-19. Any of the original orders, along with any new orders, are in effect until April 30 under the new announcement, and went into effect April 7.

Under the amended health order, building capacity for retail stores has been reduced to 20% or less of the original occupancy. This includes essential businesses such as grocery stores. Places of lodging such as hotels, RV parks, and motels are allowed to operate at no more than 25 percent of their usual capacity under the new order. Any business that was previously deemed non-essential is to remain closed until April 30. To determine if a business may remain open, email covid.exemption@state.nm.us. To report noncompliance in social distancing or a non-essential business remaining open, contact the non-emergency line for the local police or sheriff’s department, or NMSP.COVID19@state.nm.us. The violation of a public health order comes with both civil and criminal charges.

The decrease in business capacity is due to an attempt to lessen the amount of individuals gathering in spaces outside of their homes. When waiting to enter a retail business, citizens are reminded to practice good social distancing, remaining at least six feet from other community members, and to avoid contact with other people. It is suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that non-medical cloth masks be worn for essential trips outside of an individual’s home, but while it may help to slow the spread of COVID-19, a mask is not meant to be worn in place of observing good social distancing practices.

Extending the practice of social distancing and decreasing the occupancy of businesses is in an effort to decrease the rise of new COVID-19 cases and in the hope of warding off a sudden spike in cases in order to ensure that medical facilities are as prepared as possible if the surge of cases does occur.

“Please know that your actions are our single best weapon against this virus,” according to Gov. Lujan Grisham in a press release.

New Mexicans, along with most U.S. citizens, are under stay-at-home orders, which means leaving home is prohibited unless the excursion is absolutely necessary. Permitted trips include travel for essential workers, seeking medical attention, or obtaining life-sustaining food and supplies. Previous public health orders are still in effect, and include no nursing home visitation, the limitation of mass gatherings, the closing of casinos, horse-racing facilities, restaurants and bars, except for carry-out orders. Other previous orders include the restriction of hotel and motel capacity, closure of non-essential businesses and nonprofit organizations, the prohibition of non-essential health care services, and the regulation of the sale of personal protective equipment because of shortages caused by COVID-19.

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