Members of the Taos County Sheriff's Office operated checkpoints at the Colorado border Thursday and Friday (July 9 and 10) to both check drivers for intoxication and inform them about New Mexico public health orders. Officers stopped a total of 1,600 vehicles, of which more than half were out-of-state travelers, the sheriff's office estimated.
Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said the non-New Mexico residents arrived "with little clue what New Mexico health orders are, indicating to us that New Mexico needs to step up their education efforts," he wrote.
The sheriff's office conducted the checkpoints a day after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham amended an emergency public health order to effectively close state parks to all out-of-state visitors, who are still required to self quarantine for 14 days upon arrival unless traveling on "essential" business.
The governor also rolled back a previous announcement that allowed restaurants and breweries throughout the state to resume indoor dining, which is once again prohibited after the state saw a sharp spike in cases of the novel coronavirus this month.
The New Mexico Department of Health reported 301 new cases of the virus in the state on Friday, for a total of 14,549, with six additional deaths related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. A total of 539 state residents had died of the virus as of Friday.
The state also announced the cancellation of fall "contact" sports this week. Whether students will return to school on schedule also remains in question as state health official monitor the virus.
Taos County has also seen a gradual uptick in cases this summer, with 51 infections as of Friday, including one death tied to the county, according to reporting from the state.