Serving the High Plains

State to begin next reopening phase Monday

Dine-in eating, gyms to reopen at 50% capacity; salons at 25%

Starting Monday, New Mexico will begin its next phase of reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A public health order effective at the beginning of June allows for the reopening of dine-in restaurants, salons and gyms with occupancy limitations. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham anticipates the public health order covering 30 days, but noted there may be modifications if infection data changes.

The state is currently at a transmission rate of 1.09, below the benchmark of 1.15 that has been a target for weeks. Lujan Grisham said social distancing, hand washing and wearing face masks in public have helped slow the rate of infection. Going forward, she said citizens should continue to do these things but still only do activities they feel safe doing.

“In a COVID positive world, err on the side of caution,” Lujan Grisham said. “If it feels unsafe, don’t go.”

Among the changes announced Thursday:

• Dine-in restaurants may open at 50% capacity, following Wednesday’s soft opening that allowed patio service. Bar and counter seating is prohibited, and there must be six feet of distance between tables of seated customers.

Additionally, restaurants must discontinue service stations that require customers to congregate.

• Hair salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, massage parlors and nail salons may operate at 25% capacity, with customers taken on an appointment-only basis.

• Gyms may reopen at 50% capacity. Personal training is permissible with a maximum of two trainees per trainer. Gyms with pools are open for lap swimming and lessons of up to two students.

• Indoor malls allowed to open at 25 percent capacity, with food courts remaining closed and loitering prohibited.

• Movie theaters were not addressed, but drive-in theaters are allowed to reopen. The governor said the concern wasn’t gatherings, but that the virus could be carried to concession stands and bathroom facilities.

• State parks will reopen in phases, with camping and congregating still not allowed.

• Hotels may operate at 50% capacity.

• A 14-day quarantine for airport arrivals is amended to permit certain business travel.

The following measures will stay in place:

• Bars will remain closed.

• Retailers and houses of worship will remain at 25% occupancy.

• Breweries and wineries can do curbside pickup.

• Face coverings in public settings are still required.

• Mass gatherings are still prohibited. “Until we are vaccinated or until we have a treatment,” Human Services Secretary David Scrase said, “it’s unlikely we’re going to have very large gatherings.”

Lujan Grisham said employees deserve the ability to work in a safe environment, and called on citizens to continue a social contract to wear masks in public.

“As businesses did their part to protect New Mexicans,” Lujan Grisham said, “we now have to protect businesses.”

Workers can make OSHA complaints at 505-476-8700 or [email protected].

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