As anticipated and hoped, Santa Fe County today met the public health requirement for its test positivity rate over the last 14 days and now moves from red to yellow under the public health red-to-green framework.
Under that framework, counties are evaluated every other week for their case and test positivity rates over the course of 14 days. Two benchmarks come into play. For cases, counties must have fewer than eight cases per 100,000 people over 14 days. For test positivity rates, counties must average of 5% or less during the same time period.
Back to the good news. The yellow status allows for some increased capacity, most notably allowing for a small amount of indoor dining at restaurants, which is not permitted in the red zone—a breakdown of new capacities follows below.
Overall, 15 New Mexico counties met the yellow threshold and four are green. Along with Santa Fe County, Bernalillo, Cibola, Colfax, Curry, Doña Ana, Grant, Guadalupe, Los Alamos, Mora, Quay, Sandoval, San Miguel, Taos and Valencia counties are now yellow. Catron, Harding, Sierra and Union counties are green.
Of the 33 counties, 29 counties had a positivity rate below 10%, close to the state threshold of 5% compared with 11 counties one month ago. And 30 counties had improved test positivity rates from two weeks ago. Every county saw its per-capita case count improve except for Harding County, which remained static. Socorro County was the only county to move to a more restrictive level during the two-week period with an increased test positivity rate of 6.26%.
In another nod to the state's improving COVID-19 outlook, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that effective tomorrow, the state will no longer require, but only "strongly advise" visitors or New Mexicans arriving into the state from "high-risk" states (ones with a 5% positivity rate or greater over a seven-day rolling average, or a positive test rate greater than 80 per 1 million residents) quarantine. A new executive order also advices visitors to seek out a COVID-19 test upon their arrival in or return to New Mexico.
• Essential retail spaces: Move from 25% to 33% of maximum capacity
• Food and drink establishments: Allows indoor dining where it was not allowed before, with a 25% of maximum capacity for indoor dining and 75% of maximum capacity for outdoors dining (which was 25% under red); any establishment serving alcohol must close by 10 pm each night
• Close-contact businesses: 25% of maximum capacity or 20 customers (it was 10 before) at one time, whichever is smaller
All other businesses: 25% of maximum capacity or 125 customers (it was 75) at one time, whichever is smaller
Houses of worship: May hold religious services, indoors or outdoors, or provide services through audiovisual means, but may not exceed 33% (was 25%) of the maximum capacity of any enclosed space on the premises
Places of lodging: 60% of maximum occupancy (was 40%) for those that have completed NM Safe Certified training; 25% of maximum occupancy for all others; five guests maximum for vacation rentals
Mass gatherings limit: 10 persons, 80 vehicles (was five people and 40 vehicles previously)
Outdoor recreational facilities: No change: 25% of maximum capacity (unless required to have less capacity under the state's COVID-Safe Practices)
Close-contact recreational facilities: Remain closed