While New Mexico experienced falling COVID-19 cases thanks to actions taken by government officials, the state has experienced an uptick since the middle of June. As a result, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has called for a more aggressive approach to prevent case numbers from growing even higher.
The good news is that New Mexico is still far below nearby states like Texas and Arizona, who’ve seen record highs since entering into their re-opening phases. The goal is to get cases on the decline again, which state officials hope the following changes will facilitate.
Face Mask Mandate
Face masks remain controversial but are effective at reducing the number of transmissions. Accordingly, New Mexico now requires all residents and visitors to wear facial coverings in public spaces or they may face a $100 fine. This is in stark contrast to the state’s previous position on masks, which encouraged people to wear them but fell short of actually taking punitive actions against those who do not. Additionally, businesses must enforce mask wearing for both their employees as well as customers.
Quarantine for Out-of-State Visitors
Previously, only those entering New Mexico by plane were subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. In recent weeks, the quarantine order has been expanded to cover all types of conveyances. While necessary to keep COVID-19 cases down, enforcing this order will prove challenging. The state is working with hotels to track incoming visitors and take the appropriate action if they fail to obey the quarantine order. Law enforcement may also increase fines for those in public not wearing a mask if it’s discovered that they recently entered the state.
Other Proposed Changes
While there were plans to re-open schools in August, this plan is now subject to change if COVID-19 cases haven’t decreased by that time. Many businesses may also be subject to increased restrictions in response to the rise in cases. For example, the state is considering suspending dine-in service at restaurants until case numbers are on the decline again. While damage to the economy is inevitable, the goal for the time being is to save lives and prevent New Mexico’s health care system from receiving an onslaught of patients at one time.
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