Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Governor announces new COVID-19 restrictions, effective Friday


October 14, 2020

Citing a rise of coronavirus cases statewide, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday announced an extension of the public health order and new restrictions on hotel occupancy limits, a 10 p.m. closing time for restaurants that serve alcohol and a reduction of public gatherings ban from 10 to five, effective Friday.

The governor's office announced the new restrictions via email. She stated more details would be announced during her regular briefing Thursday.

New Mexico recorded a record-high 483 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, and the seven-day rolling average rose to 390 after it was below 100 just a few weeks ago. More than 900 people in the state have succumbed to the disease since March.

Here are the new restrictions:

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

“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,” said Allan Affeldt, a hotel and restaurant owner and member of the Economic Recovery Council. “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 to slow the spread of the disease.

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

Mass gatherings: Mass gatherings of more than five people are again prohibited. Previously the state had allowed gatherings of more than 10 people. A mass gathering is any public or private gathering, organized event, ceremony, parade, organized amateur contact sport, or other groupings that brings together people in an indoor or outdoor space.

Quarantine: Individuals arriving in New Mexico from “higher-risk states,” or those with a test positivity rate exceeding 5% and a case rate higher than 80 per 100,000 residents no longer will be exempt from a 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 at cv.nmhealth.org/travel-recommendations -- 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.


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