New Mexico to renew coronavirus restrictions, warning of more if cases continue to rise

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New Mexico plans to renew several coronavirus restrictions on Friday, and officials warned of more to come if COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the state. 

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced the new rules, which will include restricting indoor dining and limiting mass gatherings, on Tuesday, saying that the virus is “booming” in the state. 

The governor instituted a temporary closing time of 10 p.m. for all food and drink locations that serve alcohol, which she said the state will “rigorously enforce.” The caps for retail and dining establishments as well as hotels will be rolled back.

Mass gatherings will be limited to five people maximum, instead of 10 people. 

Hotels will be permitted to fill to 60 percent if they completed the state’s “Safe Certified training program” and 25 percent if they did not. Previously, the hotels that completed the training could allow 75 percent occupancy, while those that didn’t were limited to 50 percent capacity. 

The state will require those coming from “higher-risk states” to quarantine for 14 days and will no longer permit those who test negative within 72 hours of their arrival to be released from quarantine. “High-risk states” are defined as those having a five percent or greater test positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average or a positive test rate greater than 80 per 1 million residents.

The restrictions come as Grisham reports the virus “has spread rapidly throughout all regions of New Mexico” and a surge in hospitalizations. She attributes the rise to a lack of compliance to guidance that suggests wearing masks, avoiding large gatherings and decreasing travel outside of the home. 

“The increases we’ve seen here are some of the worst in the entire United States this fall,” she said in a release. “This kind of overwhelming and dramatic statewide spread signals one thing: Too many of us, succumbing to COVID fatigue, are no longer using those tools.”

Grisham cited that the state had missed its reopening criteria to remain safe for “several weeks” adding officials’ “only option is to simply shut down … opportunities for the virus.”

“We’ve made so much progress to sustain reopenings and our limited, safe in-person learning efforts – but that progress is rapidly disappearing,” she said. “Rollbacks will mean more economic turmoil for so many workers and business owners in our state who have already suffered and sacrificed so much. But it is our only chance to prevent more devastating illness and to save lives.”

The New York Times categorizes New Mexico as a state where “new cases are higher and staying high.” The state recorded its biggest single-day increase in cases last week with 485 new cases on Oct. 9.

The data shows cases have been rising since mid-September and have now reached a seven-day average of 390 new cases per day.

In total, the state has confirmed 33,713 positive cases and 918 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

Tags Coronavirus coronavirus restrictions COVID-19 mass gatherings Michelle Lujan Grisham New Mexico Pandemic

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