Home News COVID-19 Situation New public health order to allow some indoor dining

New public health order to allow some indoor dining

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Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Beginning this Saturday, restaurants across New Mexico will once again be allowed to offer indoor dining services in a limited capacity, one of the changes to be included in a new emergency public health order.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state public health officials will unveil the amended public health order during a remote press conference today at 3 p.m., livestreamed on Facebook, according to a press release issued Wednesday by the governor’s office.

Information about preparations for the start of the fall public school semester will also be discussed.

The updated order, according to the press release, will allow restaurants to offer indoor dining services at 25% of their maximum occupancy as determined by the building’s fire code, and in accordance with COVID-19-safe practices. The eased restrictions will also apply to breweries, cafes, coffee shops, distilleries and wineries and other similar food and drink establishments.

Tables inside and outside those establishments must be positioned at a minimum of 6 feet apart with a maximum of six patrons seated at each table, the release states.

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Establishments can continue to offer delivery and pickup services as well as patio dining options to customers.

Houses of worship under the new order will be permitted to operate at 40% of maximum occupancy of any enclosed building in accordance with COVID-19-safe practices.

The existing public health order, which will expire Friday, limits operation of houses of worship to 25% of maximum capacity.

In July, Lujan Grisham announced the reinstatement of the state’s ban on indoor dining, amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in New Mexico and neighboring states.

The press release issued Wednesday though stated a reduction in daily cases, combined with improvements in the state’s testing capacity and medical supplies, prompted some of the strict standards to be eased.

According to the New Mexico Department of Health, the state’s daily cases on a seven-day rolling average are now 116, compared to the target of 168 set by the state.

Targets for testing have also been met, with a seven-day rolling average of 6,511 tests performed on a daily basis, well above the standard of 5,000 set by the state.

Critics of the governor’s orders though say the meeting of these goals is evidence that most remaining restrictions should be rolled back so the state’s economy can recover.

A previous press release issued by the Republican Party of New Mexico accused Gov. Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, of prolonging the economic turmoil.

“There has been a dramatic fall in COVID-19 cases, but the governor doesn’t make a move to get New Mexico back on track,” the release states.

In the press release from her office, Lujan Grisham said the gains are dependent on people adhering to social-distancing guidelines and remaining vigilant.

“Our progress is only as good as our willingness to stay the course. The virus is still looking for opportunities to spread,” she said.

New cases

Despite the progress, New Mexico continues to grapple with daily increases in cases of COVID-19.

In Chaves County, 20 newly confirmed positive test results for the virus were among 205 recorded statewide Wednesday, according to the New Mexico Department of Health’s daily report.

Of the 24,732 cases documented in New Mexico since March, the Department of Health lists 12,193 as having recovered, while 71 individuals with COVID-19 infections are hospitalized in New Mexico.

Chaves County has so far recorded 647 COVID-19 positive test results, including 221 now listed as recovered. Some 15,348 tests for the virus have been performed on county residents.

Counties with the most new cases of the virus reported Wednesday were: Bernalillo County with 39, Sandoval County with 28, Lea County with 27, Eddy County with 24, and Chaves and Doña Ana counties with 20 each.

Twelve other counties reported new cases in the single digits.

Five more people on Wednesday were reported to have died from COVID-19, all of whom had underlying health conditions, according to the report. That brings the state’s death toll from the virus to 755, of which six were from Chaves County.

A woman in her 80s from Bernalillo County who was a resident of the Las Palamos Center in Albuquerque was among Wednesday’s newly listed fatalities, as were two individuals hospitalized in McKinley County: a woman in her 40s and a man in his 70s.

Two men from Sandoval County who were residents of the Rio Rancho Center in Rio Rancho — one in his 70s and the other in his 100s — also died.

Individuals who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 infection should immediately contact their health care provider or call the state’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-855-600-3453.

Symptoms of infection, according to the Department of Health, are cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose and congestion, sore throat, headache, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea and/or loss of taste or smell.

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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