Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

COVID-19 restrictions to be lifted July 1


June 23, 2021

New Mexico’s COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted July 1 after the governor on Friday apparently deemed the state close enough to its 60% goal of full vaccination against the disease.

The state’s online vaccination dashboard reported 59.4% of eligible residents had been fully vaccinated against coronavirus Friday.

“As of July 1, all limitations on mass gatherings will be gone. Businesses, large events and organizations may operate at 100% of maximum capacity, whether indoor or outdoor,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham stated in a news release.

Tucumcari Mayor Ruth Ann Litchfield, who was attending a Fired Up Fridays event at the city’s railroad plaza, didn’t know about the governor’s announcement but said she was pleased when informed about it.

“That’s good for Tucumcari, I can tell you that much,” she said. “Maybe it’ll open up our Route 66 and people will come back. I’m glad. I’m glad for New Mexico and that we can get the traveling people back.”

Until July 1, all New Mexico counties in the state will remain at the least restrictive turquoise level, where commercial and day-to-day pandemic-related occupancy restrictions remain set at 75% for many venues and businesses.

The time lag between the announcement and the July 1 reopening of the state’s economy allows people who recently have been vaccinated to attain full immunity against the disease. That generally happens two weeks after a second injection of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or after the single-shot Johnson & Johnson inoculation.

Lujan Grisham stated state officials anticipated a new batch of federal vaccination data for residents receiving their shots from federal entities by Sunday, as well as New Mexicans’ completed vaccination data from neighboring Texas.

In effect, officials said, so far as there is a “margin of error” in vaccination data, the state is well within its 60% goal.

But Lujan Grisham wasn’t satisfied with New Mexico reaching that benchmark.

“Frankly, we need to be better than 60% fully vaccinated,” she said. “The variants across the globe and in the U.S. present very serious risks to unvaccinated people, even young people. We all, each of us, have the power to stop the serious illnesses and deaths: Get your shot. It’s safe. It works. It’s that simple. Don’t wait for COVID to infect you or someone you love and wish you’d decided differently.”

“We are learning that just receiving the first of two vaccines in a series is not enough to protect you against some of the highly infectious variants,” Health Secretary Tracie Collins added. “So if you have had only one Pfizer or Moderna vaccination, please, schedule your booster shot today. And help us keep moving forward, and keep your family and your neighbors safe.”

The governor stated New Mexico will continue to follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for face coverings. Therefore, masks will remain required for unvaccinated individuals.

Businesses, workplaces and tribes may continue to require masks for employees, customers or visitors on the premises, regardless of vaccination status, at their discretion.

State health officials during a briefing earlier last week were coy about whether the governor would stick to the projected July 1 reopening announced weeks ago. But they didn’t hide their optimism about that timeline.

When asked by a reporter during the briefing why New Mexico hadn’t reopened its economy sooner as Texas had, Human Services Secretary David Scrase said the state is relying on its own data on whether to reopen and added New Mexico has the highest social vulnerability index in the U.S., thus making its populace more at risk with the virus.

All New Mexicans age 12 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and can schedule their vaccine appointments at vaccineNM.org or by calling 1-855-600-3453.

Parents of children age 12-15 are encouraged to register their child for the approved Pfizer vaccine at vaccineNM.org.

The state’s Vax 2 the Max Sweepstakes, including five $1 million drawings (for New Mexicans who have received at least one vaccine shot) and a $5 million grand prize (for New Mexicans who have completed their vaccination series), continues. Vaccinated New Mexicans who would like a chance to win must opt into the sweepstakes at vax2themaxNM.org.


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