New Mexico will officially retire its red-to-turquoise framework, and all businesses will be able to operate without any of the previous color-coded restrictions beginning July 1, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Friday (June 18).
All previous restrictions on occupancy limitations and any other commercial activity will be lifted, and businesses – including large indoor and outdoor recreational facilities – will be allowed to able to open at 100 percent capacity.
Taos and the 32 other counties in the state will remain in the least restrictive turquoise phase until the start of next month – the goal being to allow time for the most recent vaccinations to take effect.
Businesses will still be able to enforce their own health requirements for their employees and patrons, and are able to uphold mask and social distancing mandates in accordance with CDC guidelines.
The state mask mandate will follow CDC guidelines as well, allowing fully vaccinated individuals to leave the mask at home, but requiring those that are not vaccinated to wear a mask.
The state set a goal early on of reaching a 60 percent vaccination rate, and as of Thursday (June 17), approximately 59.4 percent of New Mexicans were vaccinated, and the state is suspecting the numbers to increase as more data comes in, making it well within the margin-of-error.
Though she lauded the efforts, Gov. Lujan Grisham said “frankly, we need to be better than 60 percent fully vaccinated. The variants across the globe and in the U.S. present very serious risks to unvaccinated people, even young people. We all, each of us, have the power to stop the serious illnesses and deaths: Get your shot. It’s safe. It works. It’s that simple. Don’t wait for COVID to infect you or someone you love and wish you’d decided differently.”
Lujan Grisham also acknowledged the struggle the pandemic had created. “I know some will say this day is late in coming. I sure wish we’d gotten here sooner. I said all along: Vaccines are the way out, getting shots gets us there quicker. We were always going to put health and safety first.”