Citing a healthcare system strained by a rapid rise in new cases of the novel coronavirus this fall, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state health officials announced a return on Friday (Nov. 13) to the state's most stringent public health restrictions.
Starting on Monday (Nov. 16), New Mexico residents will again be required to shelter in place, except for necessary trips, and essential businesses – such as grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations – will have to minimize operations and "in-person staffing."
Food and drink establishments may only provide curbside pickup and delivery. On-site dining is now prohibited by the state.
Other essential businesses may not exceed 25 percent of maximum occupancy or 75 customers at any one time, whichever is smaller, according to the state. Businesses will now also be required to close by 10 p.m. and may not reopen until 4 a.m. at the earliest.
Business owners who violate the new restrictions could face a civil administrative penalty of up to $5,000 per day for each violation of the Public Health Emergency Response Act.
The order will remain in place for two weeks, through Monday (Nov. 30), at which point the state will use a "tiered county-by-county system" to establish benchmarks each county must meet to loosen restrictions.
At a press conference livestreamed on Facebook on Friday, the governor said New Mexico continues to top its record for new daily cases, with a new high of 1,753 positives reported on Thursday (Nov. 12). Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 in the state have risen by 214 percent in the last month. Deaths tied to the disease have risen by 143 percent, according to the New Mexico Department of Health..
Taos County had a total of 406 cases as of Thursday, with six deaths. Taos Pueblo reported 13 new cases on Friday. Earlier this week, Taos Living Center confirmed an outbreak of 32 cases among both residents and staff.