Thursday, May 28, 2020
This article was first published by the Office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham
SANTA FE – New Mexico’s emergency public health order will be extended and amended to permit indoor dining, hair salons, gyms and indoor shopping malls to reopen next week on a limited basis and in accordance with required COVID-Safe Practices, among other changes, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Thursday.
Restaurants, which were allowed to offer limited outdoor dining on Wednesday, may resume indoor seating at 50 percent maximum occupancy effective Monday, June 1. Bar and counter seating are still prohibited; to be served, customers must be seated at tables positioned at least 6 feet apart, per the amended emergency public health order, among other required and recommended COVID-Safe Practices.
Gyms also will be allowed to reopen at 50 percent occupancy among other restrictions – including that group fitness classes are not permitted – while indoor malls, hair and nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors and massage services may begin operating at 25 percent occupancy. Shopping mall food courts must remain closed, and loitering is prohibited. Salons and other personal-service businesses must operate on a by-appointment basis, per the amended order. Waiting rooms will remain closed; clients will not be allowed to enter until time for their appointment.
“Reopening our economy is not an invitation to forget about the risks of this virus – it is a mandate that we be more cautious and careful about our choices and decisions than ever before,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “Just because you can go doesn’t mean you should. Ask yourself: Is this business operating with safe practices? When in doubt, err on the side of safety and stay home.”
The amended order becomes effective June 1 upon the expiration of the prior health order, dated May 15. Its provisions apply statewide – meaning the northwestern public health region, encompassing the counties of Cibola, McKinley and San Juan, will operate under the same guidelines as the rest of the state. It will be effective for 30 days, through the end of June.
Also to be incorporated in the amended public health order:
- Drive-in theaters may reopen under COVID-Safe Practices;
- Nine additional state parks will reopen for day-use only beginning Saturday, with five more opening Monday, some with capacity limits;
- Hotels may operate at 50 percent of maximum occupancy under COVID-Safe Practices;
- The 14-day quarantine order for airport arrivals will be amended to permit certain business travel under COVID-Safe Practices.
The changes are part of New Mexico’s phased reopening plan, which began by reopening the businesses and services that required the least personal contact. Moving from phase to phase depends on meeting certain benchmarks – called “gating criteria” – that measure steady progress toward containing spread of COVID-19. The state is currently in Phase 1 of that reopening plan. Later phases will include reopening theaters, casinos, museums, zoos and more.
“As we move forward in reopening our economy in a COVID-positive New Mexico, it’s critically important that everyone in our state keeps up the good work we’ve been doing by adopting COVID-19 Safe Practices as a new normal way of life. You know the drill: wear a mask in public, wash your hands often, keep a 6-foot distance from others, and STAY HOME if you are sick or have risk factors,” said Dr. David Scrase, secretary of the Human Services Department.
At gyms, swimming pools may reopen for lap swimming and lessons of up to two students; personal training is permitted for up to two trainees. Group fitness classes are still prohibited, as are sparring, grappling, wrestling and other forms of person-to-person contact training.
Bars – defined as food and beverage service establishments that derived more than 50 percent of their revenue in the prior calendar year from the sale of alcoholic beverages – remain temporarily closed, although breweries and wineries can do curbside pickup where permitted by their licenses.
Workers can make reports about suspected unsafe work environments in the state to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The extended order leaves intact these earlier requirements:
- Retailers and houses of worship may operate at 25 percent of maximum occupancy in accordance with COVID-Safe Practices.
- Face-coverings must be worn in public settings.
- Mass gatherings and congregations are still unsafe and prohibited.
- New Mexicans are still urged to stay home, especially if sick or in a high-risk group, and to maintain a 6-foot physical distance from others if you must go out.
“With slow, safe, pragmatic and practical respect for this virus, we can safely reinitiate reopening the economy, but this only works if we respect that individuals have to do isolation, social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks. If we don’t do that, all of this changes,” the governor said.
“If we do too much all at once, we’ll see a rate of spread that will create problems,” the governor added. “Slow but methodical and practical is the best way to hold where we are and build. We don’t want to have to go backward and shut down a business or a geographic area. This is working. I think it’s tied largely to mask-wearing and staying home. It’s very behavior dependent.”
The amended emergency public health order will be executed and disseminated Friday, May 29.
The New Mexico Department of Health and its partners continue to emphasize an expansion of testing, focusing in particular on correctional environments, tribal entities, long-term care facilities, homeless and domestic violence shelters and other congregant living sites, as well as workers in health care, utilities, grocery stores, restaurants and child care.
“This is very ambitious surveillance to get ahead of the virus,” Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel said.