New Mexico governor relaxes some COVID-19 restrictions for states with low positivity rates


SANTA FE, New Mexico (KTSM) – On Thursday, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an executive order amending the mandatory quarantine for individuals arriving into the state of New Mexico.

The new order allows travelers and residents from states with lower COVID-19 positivity rates to visit New Mexico without restrictions while states with high positivity rates to quarantine for 14-days.

The governor also announced a change to the state’s operative emergency public health order, amending occupancy limits for hotels.

The changes are effective Friday, Sept. 4.

“In order to strike a balance between public health and ensuring New Mexicans can live and move safely in a COVID-positive world until the arrival of an effective and widely available vaccine, we have to make tough, strategic and data-driven decisions,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “As I have said, we have to maintain the necessary precautions to keep the people of New Mexico safe while identifying areas where we can amend restrictions to address our state’s economic crisis. Without a coherent federal plan, we are on our own, and it is up to New Mexicans to keep making the right decisions every day to protect themselves, their families, and our state.”

According to the new order, individuals arriving from states with a 5% positivity rate or greater or a new case rate greater than 80 per 1 million residents, each calculated over a 7-day rolling average, must physically separate from others in a residence or place of lodging for at least 14 days from the date of their entry into New Mexico or for the duration of their presence in the state, whichever is shorter.

These high-risk states and territories where quarantine is required for arrivals into New Mexico as of Sept. 2 are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The quarantine requirement also applies to individuals arriving to New Mexico from outside the United States.
Previously the state of New Mexico required mandatory quarantine for visitors and residents arriving from any U.S. state.

In addition, individuals who can show documentation of a valid negative COVID-19 test taken within the 72 hours before or after entry into New Mexico are exempt from the 14-day quarantine requirement, regardless of the state from which they have traveled.

Persons who have undergone a COVID-19 test shall self-isolate or self-quarantine while awaiting the results of their test.

The list of states where the quarantine order applies will be maintained at and updated weekly.

The state’s emergency public health order requires that places of lodging may operate at a maximum of 50 percent occupancy.

In an amendment to the health order that is effective Friday, Sept. 4, places of lodging that have been safe-certified may expand maximum occupancy to 75 percent.

“The hospitality industry has taken a proactive and thoughtful approach to reimagine operations in the midst of a pandemic, which inspired the NM Safe Certified program,” said Tourism Secretary Jen Paul Schroer. “The revision to the public health order to allow greater capacity for NM Safe Certified hotels is welcome news for the tourism industry. I’m confident that the industry will continue to set an example of how businesses can operate safely and responsibly for employees and customers.”

The mandatory self-quarantine, as before, does not apply to:
• Persons employed by airlines
• Persons performing public safety or public health functions
• Military personnel and their dependents
• Federal employees
• Persons employed by a federal agency or national defense contractor
• Emergency first responders and health care workers
• Persons arriving in the state pursuant to a court order
• Persons who are employed or contracted by an essential business, as defined in the state’s operative emergency public health order, who are traveling into New Mexico to conduct business activities
• New Mexico residents who have left the state for less than 24 hours for matters attendant to parenting responsibilities
• New Mexico residents who have left the state to obtain medical care.

Individuals who are quarantined upon arrival into the state from a high-risk state may leave the residence or place of lodging in which they are self-quarantining only for the purposes of medical care, officials said.

Family or household members may visit a quarantined person, but those visitors must then self-quarantine themselves for a period of no less than 14 days.

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