Starting today, breweries in New Mexico will be able to reopen in a limited fashion.
Changes to the state’s emergency public health order will allow breweries to reopen outdoor patio service to customers at 50% occupancy, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Thursday during a livestreamed news conference.
According to a press release provided by the governor’s office following the press conference, service in indoor areas and to customers who are not sitting will still be prohibited, tables must be placed at least 6 feet apart from one another, bar and counter seating will not be allowed and a table will be limited to no more than six patrons.
On Monday, June 15, the public health order will be again amended to permit indoor service at breweries at 50% occupancy as determined by the establishment’s fire code. The soft reopening will not apply to bars.
Lujan Grisham said although restaurants, bars and breweries all offer food and beverages, bars have been shown to have different social dynamics, such as people tend to stay at them longer, and they tend to open later than breweries.
Critics have assailed Lujan Grisham for not instituting a broader reopening and say her reopening plans are inconsistent.
“The governor’s continued piecemeal approach to reopen the state continues to be unjust and inequitable. Some businesses still remain shuttered while other sections of the economy are partially opened at 25% or 50%,” Steve Pearce, chairman of the Republican Party of New Mexico, said in a statement released soon after the conference.
Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, said Thursday the decisions are based on criteria of what can open, rather than fairness.
“The entire pandemic is unfair and it creates a situation where we have to calculate risk, introduce it successfully, make those decisions and then we have to wait a period of time to see what happens as we’ve introduced that risk,” she said.
In other news, two new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Chaves County, which were among 121 additional positive test results for the virus in New Mexico announced Tuesday.
The new figures, provided in a New Mexico Department of Health press release, put Chaves County’s total number of cases at 52, with two deaths.
The state, as of Thursday, has had 9,367 COVID-19 positive test results since March 11, when the first infections in New Mexico were reported.
Grouped by county, new confirmed cases included 31 in Bernalillo County, two in Chaves County, two in Cibola County, 18 in Doña Ana County, three in Eddy County, one in Grant County, one in Lea County, eight in Luna County, 14 in McKinley County, one in Rio Arriba County, five in Roosevelt County, three in Sandoval County, eight in San Juan County, two in Santa Fe County and two in Valencia County.
Two new cases were also reported among individuals held by federal agencies at the Otero County Prison Facility, and another 17 among New Mexico Department of Corrections inmates held at the same facility.
The release also listed one new case among Corrections Department inmates at the Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County.
Ten new deaths were also reported, which include two in Doña Ana County, two in McKinley County and six in San Juan County.
New Mexico deaths from COVID-19 now stand at 420.
Dr. David Scrase, who was also at the news conference, said there continues to be a high prevalence of COVID-19 cases in the northwestern part of the state and in Doña Ana County. Mora and De Baca counties are the only New Mexico counties not to have had a reported case of the virus.
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 email@example.com.