New Mexico governor warns residents not to go to El Paso as stricter restrictions begin Friday

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LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) — “Please do not go to El Paso,” said New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham during a press conference on Thursday.

The press conference comes just one day before new restrictions go into effect. One such restriction will require New Mexico residents to quarantine for 14 days after traveling to high-risk states.

In addition, all establishments that serve alcohol will have to close by 10 p.m.

“We are seeing that these establishments, people are staying far too long and engaging in activity that is not safe in a COVID world,” said Lujan Grisham.

Also going into effect on Friday, New Mexico hotels will have their occupancy reduced, in addition to gatherings being limited to five people or less.

The governor called the New Mexico virus number “shocking,” saying if it continues, there will be more restrictions.

“If we don’t get it right, I have to restrict high-risk activities — that’s the only other tool I have in my toolbox,” she said. “It will save lives and it will prevent us from overwhelming our hospital and health care system.”

Some New Mexico residents, though, have different feelings about the new restrictions.

“I’m just so torn, sometimes I think yes because I feel for the families that have been affected by it,” said Las Crucen Madine Mahres. “But you know, just from day to day, I just have different feelings on it.”

Others said it’s necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“I think with the short-term rise and extreme rise in our state and many others, I think it’s probably best to just try and keep things camped down and I know it’s a sacrifice to many,” said Les Williamson, a Las Cruces resident.

Meanwhile NMSU student Cynthia Mendez travels from El Paso to Las Cruces to school and says she’s worried the new restrictions will affect her studies.

“I would have to not come to class and my grades would suffer from it,” said Mendez.

Another NMSU student says he understands why the governor is implementing more restrictions.

“If they were to implement more restrictions I wouldn’t be upset. I mean, it is what it is and obviously, there’s a reason for it,” said Julian Welsh, an NMSU student from Las Cruces.

On Thursday, New Mexico reported 672 new cases across the state with 89 of those being in Dona Ana County, making it the second-highest number of cases reported in the county. The highest amount of cases, at 108, was reported on Wednesday.

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