LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – The Mayor of Las Cruces has signed an emergency proclamation that requires the use of face coverings in all City of Las Cruces’ buildings and facilities.
The proclamation will last 72 hours and City Council can vote to extend it up to 14 days, according to a news release.
Officials said that face-covering means a covering made of cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material, without holes, that covers the nose and mouth and surrounding areas of the lower face. Officials also added that a face-covering could be factory-made, or could be handmade and improvised from ordinary household materials.
According to officials, the emergency proclamation will allow for increased public education and will provide the City with more enforcement control on the local level.
Violations would constitute a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or 90 days in jail.
The mayor issued the proclamation on the heels of a new state mandate requiring all New Mexicans to wear a mask or face-covering in public settings beginning May 16.
Both the mayor’s emergency proclamation and the state mandate impact in-person early voting at City Hall, 700 N. Main St. beginning Saturday, May 16. Officials said face masks will be available to voters.
In-person early voting runs through Saturday, May 30. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. There is no voting Sunday and Monday.
Voting at City Hall will take place in the lobby just outside City Council Chambers and the City Clerk’s office.
Officials said there will be five voting stations spaced six feet apart. Hand sanitizers will also be on site.
Poll workers will wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and plexiglass separators will be used to provide a safety barrier between voters and poll workers, according to officials. Disposable wooden sticks will be used in place of a stylus for signing ballots and all pens will be sanitized after each use.