New Mexico to extend indoor mask requirement

New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) —The Office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the statewide mask mandate, that requires that masks be worn in public spaces, will be extended through at least October 15.

The governors office said Gov. Lujan Grisham authorized the reimplementation of the mask requirement in August.

According to the Governor’s Office, the state’s 7-day average COVID-19 test positivity rate was 9% on August 16 and decreased to 6.5% as of September 14. But total statewide hospitalizations have remained generally steady over the past month and staffed hospital beds remain in short supply. Health officials, including at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, continue to recommend face masks be worn in indoor spaces.

Governor Grisham may decide to extend or lift the mask requirement as necessary said the governor’s office.

“If not for the health of yourself, your family, your neighbors, and your colleagues, then for the continued economic recovery of our state and nation: I urge New Mexicans to get vaccinated, mask up and continue to social distance,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “This virus is a true test of what it means to come together as Americans, and I know that we have the capacity to continue to take on a minor personal sacrifice for one another toward a greater good.”  

The separate public health order requiring health care workers to be vaccinated and vaccinate-or-test requirements for school workers remains in place.

“Apart from vaccination, face coverings are our best tool to manage the spread of COVID, especially in the face of the highly infectious Delta variant,” said Secretary Scrase. “Our state case rates continue to be three to four times higher than our ‘maximum safety level’ of 210 cases per day. Wearing a mask is a small sacrifice that makes an enormous difference – and one that saves the lives of our fellow New Mexicans. We thank the people of this state for all they have done through this pandemic – and for their continuing commitment to one another.”

The governor’s office said the mask requirement applies to all individuals aged 2 and older in all indoor public settings — except when eating or drinking. Masks are required for everyone in school buildings regardless of vaccination status. Businesses, houses of worship and other entities may enact stricter requirements at their discretion.

The second public health order, originally implemented last month, still requires all workers in New Mexico hospitals and congregate care facilities to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with only limited exceptions, and also requires school workers who are not yet fully vaccinated to be tested for COVID-19 once a week. 

As of Wednesday, September 15, hospitals must report to the Department of Health the number of:

  • Workers subject to the public health order,
  • Fully vaccinated workers,
  • Partially vaccinated workers,
  • Unvaccinated workers, and
  • Unvaccinated workers who have been granted a vaccine requirement exemption.

In addition, congregate care facilities must provide records regarding a worker’s vaccination or exemption status upon request by the Department of Health said the governor’s office.

Vaccination location can be found at VaccineNM.org along with information and appointment scheduling.

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