New Mexico will be under new restrictions, starting tomorrow, as the result of additional emergency orders laid out today by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Restaurants, bars and breweries that serve food will move to take-out only. All gyms, spas, recreation centers, shopping malls, movie theaters and flea markets must close. Offices that don't provide essential services should limit operations. All casinos and horse racing facilities under the state's purview will shutter. Hotels, motels and other places of lodging must only use 50% capacity.
The threshold for hotels and motels, she said, is because such places must be utilized for healthcare workers and other employees in crucial industries who may need "a place to go that limits their social contact and interaction with their families," Lujan Grisham said.
The order will include enforcement, which could include fines, civil or criminal proceedings and repercussions for businesses' licensing, the governor said.
Restrictions of three items per customer will be placed on hygiene and over-the-counter medical supplies.
The restrictions as of now are in place until April 10.
"Panic doesn't help us manage this in a way that enhances our ability to protect you," Lujan Grisham said. "As people are rushing to grocery stores," it limits availability to others.
However, she said, the limits on purchase of hygiene and over-the-counter medical supplies does not reflect lack of overall availability in the supply chain. "I am sure there are many New Mexicans who feel like this is such an infringement on their individual rights to purchase what they want," she said. But "we're not rationing, we're not withholding, we're leveraging," she said, noting the measure gives stores enough time to restock and ensure products are available to everyone.
The new restrictions come as the state reports five new cases, bringing the total number to 28. Notably, the state also has its first case attributable to "community spread," meaning a case that is not connected to travel or other documented COVID-19 cases. According to state deputy epidemiologist Chad Smelser, that case is a Bernalillo County woman in her 40s. The other instances are: a woman in Bernalillo County in her 80s; a woman in Santa Fe County in her 30s; a woman in Sandoval County in her teens; a woman in Sandoval County in her 50s.
Regarding testing, Lujan Grisham and Health Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel said six sites are operating across the state (Presbyterian in Albuquerque and Española; Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe; Holy Cross Medical Center in Taos County; San Juan Regional Medical Center; and Gallup's medical center. As SFR and others have reported, Presbyterian also has a drive-through testing set up in Santa Fe). The state, officials said, plans to set up five additional drive-up sites in Albuquerque, Roswell, Las Vegas, Las Cruces and, potentially, Taos.
The state—along with the federal delegation—has sought to receive its full allotment of protective medical equipment, such as masks and gloves, from the Department of Health and Human Services, as it's only received 25%.
Both Kunkel and the governor emphasized that only people with COVID-19 symptoms: fever, cough and shortness of breath—should seek testing "to make sure it's available to people who are sick and [to] preserve our resources," Kunkel said.
As of today, the state was reporting 2,354 tests. Lujan Grisham said 500 additional tests would be run today.
Lujan Grisham noted the economic and personal impact of the new closures and restrictions, saying: "We all have to do our part to understand these decisions are hard and painful and difficult, but we will get through it and the more we do on the front end, the sooner we get through it. The safer you are, the better we'll be and the more ready we'll be to stand up our small businesses and our economy again."