Serving the High Plains

Quay County lands in red zone on state's COVID-19 map

Quay County, as expected, and 31 other New Mexico counties on Wednesday landed in the red zone on the state’s COVID-19 map that will guide economic reopenings in the coming weeks.

Neighboring San Miguel County, however, landed in the yellow zone with a test positivity rate right at the 5% benchmark. Its daily case rate of coronavirus was 32.2 per 100,000 people, above the benchmark of 8 daily cases per 100,000 people.

No counties were in the green zone. The next re-evaluation of counties will be Dec. 16.

Los Alamos County, in the yellow zone a few days ago, fell into the red zone.

Quay County had a coronavirus daily rate of 77.4 per 100,000 people and a test-positivity rate of 20.4% – well above both benchmarks. The county had seen elevated caseloads of the virus for the last few weeks.

Based on Quay County’s estimated population, it cannot see more than nine COVID-19 cases in a two-week period and still meet the daily-rate criteria.

Here are the restrictions for counties in the red zone such as Quay:

– Essential businesses (non-retail): No capacity restrictions but must limit operations to only those absolutely necessary to carry out essential functions;

– Essential retail spaces: 25% of maximum capacity or 75 customers at one time, whichever is smaller;

– Food and drink establishments: No indoor dining permitted; 25% of maximum capacity for outdoor dining; any establishment serving alcohol must close by 9 p.m. nightly;

– Close-contact businesses: 25% of maximum capacity or 10 customers at one time, whichever is smaller;

– Outdoor recreational facilities: 25% of maximum capacity (unless required to have less capacity under the state’s COVID-Safe Practices);

– Close-contact recreational facilities: Remain closed;

– All other businesses: 25% of maximum capacity or 75 customers at one time, whichever is smaller

– Houses of worship: May hold religious services, indoors or outdoors, or provide services through audiovisual means but may not exceed 25% of the maximum capacity of any enclosed space on the premises;

– Places of lodging: 40% of maximum occupancy for those that have completed NM Safe Certified training; 25% of maximum occupancy for all others; five guests maximum for vacation rentals;

– Mass gatherings limit: five persons, 10 vehicles.

In the yellow zone, San Miguel County is allowed 25% of indoor-dining capacity with its restaurants and in many other businesses.