Home News COVID-19 Situation Governor eases some restrictions on businesses

Governor eases some restrictions on businesses

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AP File Photo New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is pictured during a March 18 news conference on the floor of the state House of Representatives in Santa Fe.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced a new public health order Thursday that will allow some businesses deemed nonessential to reopen on a limited basis.

The changes were announced by Lujan Grisham at a press conference Thursday, hours before more restrictive public health orders enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic were set to expire.

The move is part of a phased reopening and the new order will remain in effect through May 15.

“I am really proud of this work. I believe that based on the evidence, it is a safe relaxation that begins to ease those pressures,” she said.

Under the new orders, beginning today retailers deemed nonessential will be able to reopen but only operate through curbside service and delivery, where permitted by license.

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Some retailers, such as liquor stores, which are not able to provide curbside or delivery services because of restrictions under their license, will have to remain closed.

“Most retailers don’t have those restrictions so now they will be able to open and provide those services to New Mexicans,” Lujan Grisham said. Gun shops will be able to operate, though only through appointment.

State parks will be opened, but only on a modified basis and as staff is available, with camping still prohibited and visitor centers closed.

“We do have to staff up and make sure we do all the work to make them as safe as possible by doing the right kind of signage for social distancing and cleaning and we will do that,” she said.

Businesses that provide pet services such as adoption, grooming, daycare and boarding will be permitted to operate again. Veterinarians will be permitted to operate.

Golf courses can be open, but only for golf and not dining or retail.

Nonessential businesses such as offices and workspaces will remain closed, as will retailers, dine-in restaurants and bars that do not provide curbside or delivery services.

Indoor malls, gyms, salons, theaters and casinos are still unsafe for the public and will remain shuttered, Lujan Grisham said.

Mass gatherings of more than five people will still be prohibited and people who arrive from out of state via airport will still have to quarantine for 14 days.

Instructions to stay at home other than for essential outings remain in place.

The easing of some restrictions and the new order came the same day that the New Mexico Department of Health reported 11 additional deaths and 198 more COVID-19 infections.

The death toll from the pandemic in New Mexico now stands at 123 and the number of infections at 3,411, according to a press release issued Thursday.

Seven of the latest fatalities were from San Juan County and were residents of the Life Care Center in Farmington. They include: three women and one man in their 80s and two men and one woman in their 90s.

A man in his 80s from Luna County who was a resident of Central Desert Behavioral Health in Albuquerque also died from complications of COVID-19.

McKinley County had three fatalities. One was a man in his 70s who was a resident of Sundance Care Home in Gallup. The other two were a man in his 50s with underlying medical conditions and a man in his 40s. Both were hospitalized, according to the release.

New confirmed cases by county reported Thursday were: 48 in Bernalillo County, five in Cibola County, four in Curry County, 13 in Doña Ana County, 74 in McKinley County, one in Roosevelt County, 45 in San Juan County, four in Sandoval County, two in Santa Fe County, one in Taos County and one in Valencia County.

No new cases were reported Thursday in Chaves County, where the total number of known infections stands at 22, with one death.

As of Thursday, 172 individuals in New Mexico were hospitalized with COVID-19. The New Mexico Department of Health has also designated 760 cases as having recovered from the disease.

The state as of Thursday had performed 67,869 tests for COVID-19, according to the New Mexico Department of Health’s website.

 

Next phase

Lujan Grisham said the state hopes by mid-May to look at allowing all retailers to resume operation in accordance with retail-safe practices, with a 20% occupancy rate — where the fire code of a given building determines how many people can be in it at one time.

She also said she hopes dine-in services in restaurants and bars will resume with 50% occupancy, but not with barstool and standing services, because those are practices that allow for a high rate of risk of transmitting the disease.

Gyms, salons, hotels and houses of worship could, under the new plan, operate again on a limited basis and in accordance with COVID-19 safe practices.

Whether those plans become a reality, Lujan Grisham said, will depend on how well New Mexicans continue to practice social distancing and how safely those businesses can be reopened.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

 

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