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New Mexico’s governor unveils ‘slight reopening’ and face mask requirement, but is wary of surge

SANTA FE, New Mexico — New Mexico is giving the green light for some non-essential businesses and services, including retailers, to reopen come Saturday while mandating that face masks be worn in public with few exceptions.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a news conference from the state Capitol on Wednesday that the next public health order will allow certain businesses to reopen at 25% of ordinary occupancy to avoid crowding and guard against coronavirus transmission. Large retailers will have a 20% limit.

New Mexico "slight reopening" begins Saturday, May 16, but everyone is required to wear a face mask in public spaces and the stay-at-home order remains in effect.

  • Allowed to reopen with maximum occupancy limits shown below:
  • 25% - retail
  • 25% - offices, call centers
  • 20% - "big box" stores, large retailers
  • 10% - houses of worship
  • Remaining CLOSED for now:
  • Movie theaters
  • Concert halls
  • Amusement parks
  • Dine-in at restaurants
  • Indoor malls
  • Salons
  • Gyms

The new reopening order will not apply in the northwest corner of the state — where infections continue to surge as the coronavirus has taken an outsized toll on the Navajo Nation.

New Mexico health officials cautioned that infections among children are also surging as they announced 12 more deaths and 155 newly confirmed infections from the coronavirus.

As of Wednesday, New Mexico had 5,364 reported positive cases and 231 reported fatalities associated with the virus, with 62 fatalities reported in the last week alone. At least 200 New Mexicans remain hospitalized.

There were just four new cases reported in Doña Ana County for a total of 249. Also in southern New Mexico, officials said there were now 38 cases among migrants at the Otero County ICE Processing Center and 21 infections among federal detainees at the Otero County Prison Facility.

"States have very little authority over federal detention centers, and I know that no one in New Mexico will be surprised when I say that the federal government isn't testing. They're not testing in ICE detention facilities that I'm aware of anywhere in the country," said Lujan Grisham.

"So let's talk about what they didn't do," the governor continued, "they didn't take any of our standards for how you visit, how you are training staff, what you do for infection control, mandating that guards and staff have masks. And this is a huge failure in the federal system."

New Mexico officials announced this week that Covid-19 testing is now available for all workers in the state, symptomatic or not — with an emphasis on the service industries as well as government employees and utility and construction workers.

Department of Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel said the state has also expanded drive-up testing sites that can process insurance information and collect nasal swab samples while participants never leave their car.

Testing for the novel coronavirus in New Mexico has increased from limited testing in early March to around 20,000 a week. State officials want to test 7,500 people a day eventually as part of a plan to limit the spread of the virus while gradually reopening the economy.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has warned that lifting stay-at-home orders too quickly could lead to serious consequences, both in deaths and economic hardship. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has continued to push states to act to right a free-falling economy.

Lujan Grisham has assembled an advisory council of business leaders to consult in private as she takes gradual steps to reopen the state's economy.


Associated Press



  1. I would prefer that all of New Mexico should shed their masks, but let the governor keep hers on. I don’t like the face of communists.

          1. You voted for Bernie and you don’t know he is a socialist? How daft!

  2. What about campgrounds? The Mountains are calling and I must go! I could really use a cool mountain night with just me, my tent, my sleeping bag, a jar of moonshine and a sky full of stars.

          1. oh right. I see that now. Sorry. Well the definition of the Democratic party is hypocrisy so what else would we expect?

        1. It doesn’t make sense why the National Parks and National Forests are closed in New Mexico. You have a higher chance of getting killed in a car accident than getting the COVID-19 from a bear in the Gila National Forest wilderness area.

    1. yeah I think people are just gonna have to open up illegally but it has to be a large amount of small businesses. She can fine everyone I she wants and suspend everyone’s rights. ….let’s see how well re-election goes

      1. According to the polls, it will go very well for her. Part of that is the orange buffoon dragging down Republicans all over the country.

        1. Wrong. Republicans just flipped a California House seat in a Democratic stronghold. People are fed up with the Democratic lies and trust this President.

          1. That never happened. If you revisit that I think you will see it went the other direction.

          2. It did happen. Kristy Smith conceded. And that was after they found the “missing” box of ballots. And your TDS is taking over your brain. He earns more trust everyday, especially since #Obamagate has exposed the previous administrations corruption.

  3. She’s putting the mask on upside down. Eventually people are gonna have to decide their own risks. Not ALL businesses and activities can be done with a mask on.

    1. A virologist made a great analogy on these masks last night. He said that the masks protect others from you, is you are sneezing or coughing, but as far as keeping a 2 micron sized virus away from you, he said it was as efficient as putting up chain link fencing to keep out mosquitoes.

        1. Restaurants all over El Paso are re-opening. I had brunch at the Grove Saturday and lunch at the Mesa Street Grill Sunday afternoon.

          1. You can do that if you like. It has nothing to do with being liberal or conservative. It has to do with fear of getting the disease. I’m afraid of getting it.

        2. markturner1946 says: “What does liberal or conservative have to do with catching coronavirus”.

          That’s funny. You liberals make it a political issue especially when the President is involved. All you have been doing is spouting off Democrat/Liberal talking points. You don’t want the economy to open up and get better hoping it will damage President Trump from getting reelected. Also the max COVID-19 cases and deaths. After the dust settles in the end President Trump will get reelected. So happy TDS!

        3. Don’t you live in a trailer in Socorro? You should get out more often. No problem. Just wear a face mask and do social distancing. Follow your Dr. Fauci’s guidance? LMAO.

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