Story at a glance
- New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced a new set of aggressive policies to enforce public health protocols.
- The new mandates come as the state is experiencing record daily counts of new coronavirus cases.
For residents of New Mexico who choose to flout state law and not wear a face mask while in public areas, they stand to pay a $100 fine, the Associated Press (AP) reports.
This and other stricter measures will be enforced, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) told the press on Wednesday. Her announcement to implement more aggressive measures to enforce public health mandates comes as new cases are rising across New Mexico, hitting a record high of as of July 1.
Deaths resulting from the virus are steadily growing and slowly plateauing, but hospitalizations have been in fairly consistent decline since early June. Lujan Grisham is likely looking to continue this trend and flatten the epidemiological curve across the state.
As individuals will be subject to fines for not obeying face mask regulations, businesses that ignore current health orders may face workplace citations and misdemeanor criminal charges. Moreover, the state will be enforcing a standard 14-day quarantine for out-of-state visitors.
"We're going to do enforcement and hold people accountable," Lujan Grisham told the press. "If you're flying in, you're quarantined. If you want to drive here for vacationing, you're quarantined in your room."
The Democratic governor also beseeched citizens to forgo crowded gatherings or celebrations as the Fourth of July approaches. Multiple public health experts cite younger people in private parties being the root cause for the national upticks in new coronavirus cases. Out-of-state visitors, potentially from besieged states Arizona and Texas, may be a contributing factor to new infections, state Human Services Secretary David Scrase said.
For New Mexico in particular, the spread of the virus could negatively impact schools reopening.
"The children of this state and the students deserve a chance to go back to school," Lujan Grisham said. "They deserve an education ... the kind of social experiences that they're not garnering because of this pandemic if we don't get this right."
Similar to most other states, New Mexico is operating under a phased reopening plan, meaning they will gradually reopen sectors of the economy once certain milestones, like case numbers and positivity rates, are hit.
As multiple states across the Sun Belt are seeing staggering increases in cases, Lujan Grisham has opted to pause reopening efforts until virus transmission is reduced. Phase Two of New Mexico's reopening will be on hold until July 15, according to KRQE .