Bhasker- Howie Morales

New Mexico Lt. Gov. Howie Morales (right) shares an elbow bump with Socorro Mayor Ravi Bhasker at City Hall last Friday. Morales and Bhasker discussed a wide range of concerns including the COVID-19 outbreak, better broadband, and support for local industry, specifically Dicaperl Minerals west of town.

NMDOH

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state health officials on Friday announced the state of New Mexico will temporarily reenact a statewide order closing in-person services for all non-essential activities.

The order went into place on Monday and extends through November 30.

Lujan Grisham said the goal is to “blunt the unprecedented spike of COVID-19 illnesses and to attempt to relieve dramatically escalating strain on hospitals and healthcare providers across the state.”

As of Monday, Socorro County has recorded a total of 393 cumulative positive cases and 19 deaths.

“The rate of spread and the emergency within our state hospitals are clear indicators that we cannot sustain the current situation without significant interventions to modify individual behavior,” she said. “We had hoped targeted crackdowns, limited hours of operation and amplified messaging and enforcement would make the difference and slow the spread and relieve our hospitals. The public health data make clear, however, that more aggressive restrictions are not only warranted but essential if we are to prevent mass casualties.”

Essential businesses – such as grocery stores, pharmacies, shelters, child care facilities, gas stations, infrastructure operations and others – must minimize operations and in-person staffing to the greatest extent possible but may remain open for limited essential in-person activities.

Food and drink establishments may provide curbside pickup and delivery services; on-site dining is prohibited.

Retailers such as hardware stores, automobile and bike repair facilities, laundromats, dry cleaner services, grocery stores, convenience stores, food banks and large “big-box” retail spaces – may not exceed either 25 percent of the maximum occupancy as determined by the relevant fire marshal or more than 75 customers at any given time, whichever is lesser.

Essential retail spaces shall limit the sale of medications, durable medical equipment, baby formula, diapers, sanitary care products and hygiene products to three items per individual. These retailers must close each night at 10 p.m. and may reopen beginning at 4 a.m.

Businesses face a civil administrative penalty of up to $5,000 a day for each violation of the Public Health Emergency Response Act, the state law authorizing the secretary of health to issue emergency  public health orders.

Churches and other houses of worship face a similar attendance restriction; 25 percent of maximum occupancy.

Everyone is instructed to stay at home except for only those trips that are essential to health, safety and welfare – such as for food and water, emergency medical care, to obtain a flu shot or to obtain a test for COVID-19.

Gatherings of more than five people remain prohibited unless they live together, and masks are required in public settings.

The state has also developed a tiered county-by county system that will be used to establish benchmarks for reopening to provide flexibility for counties as they are able to drive down infection rates and prevent community outbreaks.

Lujan Grisham also encouraged New Mexicans to make plans for a different kind of Thanksgiving - one without household members.

“Stay at home. Wear your mask if you must go out. Do not gather with non-household members. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently,” she said. “Please, take every necessary precaution to protect yourself, your family, your community and your state. If we do that, we will be able to resume more day-to-day activities soon, and more importantly, we will save the lives of hundreds of New Mexicans.”