Taos County Commissioners voted Tuesday (July 21) to move in line with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's emergency declaration and mandate mask use in Taos County.
The mandate was approved during the six-hour Taos County Commission meeting and requires all Taos County residents to wear a face covering in public.
The emergency order also gives county manager Brent Jaramillo emergency powers to be able to enact a curfew and close public streets or alleyways if the need presents it. Jaramillo and the commission have not enacted a curfew, while the town of Taos imposed a curfew in April and made masks mandatory June 29.
Those caught in violation of the state's order in the county could face a $300 fine.
Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe and his deputies have held checkpoints to alert out-of-state travelers of the governor's order and have been handing out pamphlets of information about the mandates and penalties.
"Most people just simply don't know what the public health order regulations are," Hogrefe said.
Hogrefe also said those people he informs have given second thoughts to their vacation stays in Taos and other parts of the state.
During the meeting, Hogrefe said Taos Central Dispatch has dealt with 21 calls for noncompliance of the governor's order and said four of the calls were in the county with the rest being in the town.
The Taos County Sheriff's Office will be out looking for members of the public "willfully defying" the public health order.
The state's emergency health order also bans gatherings of more than five people and requires people to keep six feet apart at all times in public.