With New Mexico COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths rapidly rising, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham today announced a new public health order effective Monday that will revert to the stricter measures the state enacted earlier in the pandemic.
For two weeks starting Nov. 16 through Nov. 30, New Mexicans are instructed to stay at home with the exception of trips required for health, safety and welfare. Read the complete public health order here.
The new order closes non-essential businesses and requires essential businesses, such as hardware stores, automobile and bike repair facilities and grocery stores to operate at either 25% capacity or no more than 75 customers at a time.
As for restaurants, food and drink establishments may provide curbside pickup and delivery services; all on-site dining is prohibited.
The renewal of stricter measures comes as New Mexico—and the rest of the country—sees surges of cases. In New Mexico, officials say hospitalizations have risen 214% over the last month. New Mexico recorded 182 COVID-19 deaths over the last two weeks. By comparison, there were 75 in the prior two weeks, amounting to a 143% increase.
"These are numbers that spell, quite frankly, disaster for saving lives, protecting our front line responders and health care works, our healthcare and hospital infrastructure and we have to get ahead of it," Lujan Grisham said.
Those numbers reify "one of the really troubling of aspects of this virus," she said: its contagiousness. "You can see these doubling effects: the number of people who are infected, the number of people who are hospitalized. This is when you know you have uncontrollable statewide community spread. So we are in a life or death situation and if we don't act right now, we cannot preserve the lives, can't keep saving lives, and we will absolutely crush our current healthcare system and infrastructure."
After the two-week "reset," Lujan Grisham said officials would implement a three-tier system for counties, under which counties meeting or beating certain thresholds, comparable or the same as the current gating criteria, would be allowed to phase in re-openings.
Needless to say, the two-week order includes the Thanksgiving holiday, which the governor said "isn't occurring the Lujan Grisham household."
"Far too many families in America—and I hope that's not going to be true in New Mexico—are going to choose to come together, and they are going to end up being together again to attend a funeral for one of those family members because they had Thanksgiving together," she said. "It's not worth the risk."