County lands in turquoise zone for COVID-19 risk


March 10, 2021

Quay County vaulted into the turquoise zone – the best achievable – in COVID-19 risk assessment Wednesday, which means bars and entertainment venues can reopen at limited capacity for the first time in many months.

To be in the turquoise zone, a county must meet both benchmarks for COVID-19 risk, or be the green zone, for two consecutive two-week assessment periods. Quay County landed in the green zone during the Feb. 9 to Feb. 22 period.

In the most recent assessment from Feb. 23 to March 8, Quay County recorded 4.3 daily coronavirus cases per 100,000 people and a test-positivity rate of 1.56%. Both were well under the criteria of 8 daily cases per 100,000 and a test-positivity of 5%.

Neighboring De Baca, Harding and Union counties also are in the turquoise zone.

All counties in New Mexico landed in the yellow, green or turquoise zones Wednesday except Guadalupe County, which backslid into the red zone after an outbreak there. It had a positivity rate of 5.16% and a per capita rate of 25.9 daily cases per 100,000 people.

The next assessment will be on March 24.

Here are the new restriction levels in the turquoise zone:

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

– Essential retail spaces: 75% of maximum capacity (indoor and outdoor);

– Food and drink establishments (if NM Safe Certified): 75% of maximum capacity for indoor dining; 75% of maximum capacity for outdoor dining;

– Close-contact businesses: 75% of maximum capacity; no restrictions on outdoor spaces;

– Large entertainment venues: 33% of maximum capacity for any indoor/enclosed space on premises; 75% of any outdoor space on premises;

– Recreational facilities: 50% of maximum capacity of any indoor/enclosed space on the premises; 75% of any outdoor space on premises;

– Bars and clubs: 33% of maximum capacity of any indoor/enclosed space on premises; 75% of any outdoor space on premises, where applicable;

– All other businesses: 75% of maximum capacity indoors; no restrictions on outdoor spaces;

– Churches: May hold religious services, indoors or outdoors, or provide services through audiovisual means, but may not exceed 75% of the maximum capacity of any enclosed space on the premises;

– Places of lodging: No maximum occupancy restrictions for those that have completed NM Safe Certified training; 50% of maximum occupancy for all others; 15 guests maximum for vacation rentals;

– Mass gatherings limit: 150 persons, or 200 vehicles.

The turquoise rating also bumps up capacity at the county’s high-school sports venues. The capacity for indoor venues increased from 25% to 33%, and outdoor venues increased from 50% to 75%.


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