New Mexico amends capacity requirements for essential retail spaces

New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) – The State of New Mexico announced that the public health order was amended to accommodate slightly increased capacity inside essential retail spaces, such as grocery stores and certain other large ‘big box’ retailers that generate some part of their profit from food and drink products, as cold weather arrives.

According with the State’s graduated red-to-green system of measuring the risk of viral spread in specific counties, changes announced that essential retail spaces:

  • May operate at 50% of maximum occupancy at the Green Level
  • May operate at 33% of maximum occupancy at the Yellow Level
  • May operate at 25% of maximum occupancy at the Red Level

Previously, essential retail spaces could operate with either a limit on maximum occupancy or a specific number of customers at one time, whichever was smaller. This change, says the State, eliminates the latter provision.

The amended order was announced to be effective today, Dec. 16.

“Our priority is ensuring physical distancing in high-traffic areas, like stores that people must frequent to meet essential needs,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “With colder weather here, we want to ensure that people aren’t gathering in lines for an unsafe length of time, especially in communities where there are fewer retail options for essential needs. We are grateful to the numerous companies and stores across New Mexico that have made every effort to keep their customers, employees and communities safe.”

“The safe choices remain the same: Stay at home whenever you can, avoid groups and gatherings, and always wear your mask when you must leave the house,” the governor added.

Essential retail spaces, as defined in the emergency public health order, include grocery stores, supermarkets, food banks, farmers’ markets and vendors who sell food, convenience stores, and other businesses that generate more than one-third of their revenue from the sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet food, animal feed or supplies, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other consumable food and drink products; automobile repair facilities, bike repair facilities, and retailers who generate the majority of their revenue from the sale of automobile or bike repair products; hardware stores; laundromats; and dry cleaner services.

The state said it will continue to encourage essential retailers to adopt designated hours for senior citizens or otherwise high-risk populations, and reminded New Mexicans to limit outings and the number of people who travel on those outings. For instance, shopping for groceries can be done by one household member, rather than an entire family.

More information can be found here.

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