Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham discusses the rise in coronavirus cases and the restrictions in Facebook livestream at 3 p.m. today (Oct. 15).

COVID update: Oct. 14, 2020

As the number of novel coronavirus cases rises again in New Mexico, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Tuesday (Oct. 13) that she is putting stricter health regulations back in place beginning Friday (Oct. 16).

The current public health order ends that day. Grisham Lujan said she will extend and expand the order. The governor will discuss details of the changes in a public update today (Oct. 15), livestreamed on Facebook.

What did the governor say will change?

- Mandated closing: Breweries, restaurants and any other place serving alcohol must close at 10 p.m. each night.

- Reduced hotel occupancy: Hotels, motels and other places of lodging that have completed the New Mexico-Safe Certified training must reduce maximum occupancy from 75 to 60 percent after Friday. Lodging places that have not completed the training must reduce from 50 percent down to 25 percent occupancy.

- Increased self-isolation requirements: People visiting New Mexico from higher risk states - those where 5 percent or more of those tested come back positive and a test positivity rate higher than 80 per 100,000 residents - won't be exempt from self-quarantine, even if they test negative within 72 hours after they arrive in the state.

"All individuals arriving from those higher-risk states - a list of which is updated each Wednesday at - must self-quarantine for a period of no less than 14 days or for the duration of their stay in New Mexico, whichever is shorter," according to the press release.

- Reduced mass gatherings: The state will again prohibit the gathering of more than five people in any public or private gathering indoor or outdoor. Mass gatherings of up to 10 people had been allowed.

What was said about mandatory closing time:

According to a press release, the governor's Economic Recovery Council recommended the mandatory closing time for establishments selling alcohol. "New Mexico hotels and restaurants and our hospitality employees have suffered more from COVID than any other sector," said Allan Affeldt, hotel and restaurant owner and member of the Economic Recovery Council, in a statement.

"In spite of that, the overwhelming majority of hotels and restaurants are in support of the state's COVID-safe practices and are doing our best to keep our guests and staff safe so our economy can recover faster. Unfortunately, there are some restaurants and bars that blatantly disregard public safety by operating late and in gross violation of safe practices and common sense."

Red River Mayor Linda Calhoun, Republican candidate for New Mexico House District 42 representative, is a member of the task force.

Why is the governor cracking down?

The number of positive coronavirus cases statewide has spiraled upward in the last few weeks. The state had seen a steady decline in cases from mid-July to mid-September, but have risen steadily since then. Hospitalizations also have gone up, though the daily number of New Mexicans dying from complications related to COVID-19 has gone down.

"The state has missed its reopening gating criteria - a measure of the spread of the virus that signals whether additional day-to-day activity is safe and can be permitted - for several weeks," according to a statement from the Department of Health.

In Taos County, the test positivity rate has remained low. The total stands at 161 cases in the county as of Tuesday (Oct. 13) and four deaths since mid-March.

- Compiled by Staci Matlock

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