Home News COVID-19 Situation State changes face mask order for vaccinated

State changes face mask order for vaccinated

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The New Mexico Department of Health announced Friday that fully vaccinated individuals will not be required to wear face coverings or practice social distancing in most settings, a revision in state rules that reflects guidance issued Thursday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Health Department said its amended public health order took effect Friday.

In most circumstances, fully vaccinated individuals are no longer required to wear a mask in either indoor or outdoor settings. They also will not have to practice social distancing, unless that practice is recommended by the CDC.

Fully vaccinated is defined as people who have had two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at least two weeks previously or those who have had the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine 14 days ago or more.

Individuals who do not meet those requirements must continue to wear a mask in public settings.

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The Health Department release also indicated that all people, regardless of vaccination status, will continue to be required to wear masks in all health care settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, public transportation vehicles and stations, and schools.

State officials also said that New Mexico residents should continue to use COVID-safe practices. That includes wearing “well-fitted” masks as required by localities, tribal entities and individual businesses.

“The state fully supports businesses and workplaces that may continue to require masks for employees and/or customers on the premises, regardless of vaccination status,” the news release stated.

The public health order also said businesses, houses of worship and nonprofit organizations should continue to follow CDC guidance concerning face coverings and social distancing.

Other public health orders remain in place regarding limits on mass gatherings and the statewide risk-assessment framework.

State officials have said that New Mexico will be able to drop the risk-assessment framework and lift most pandemic-related restrictions on commercial activities when 60% of eligible New Mexicans have been fully vaccinated.

As of May 13, 51% of eligible New Mexicans have been fully vaccinated. In Chaves County, as of May 10, 38.3% of residents — or 16,052 people — are at least partially vaccinated, while 32.4% are fully vaccinated.

All New Mexicans 16 or older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. They can schedule their vaccine appointment at www.vaccineNM.org or by calling 855-600-3453. Parents of New Mexicans ages 12 to 15 can register their child for the approved Pfizer vaccine at www.vaccineNM.org.

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