SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Tuesday that employees at restaurants and essential businesses operating as a retail space with a footprint greater than 50,000 square feet will be required to wear face coverings or masks starting May 6. She also announced that all essential businesses operating as a retail space will need to require employees to wear face coverings or masks starting May 11.
The governor reminded New Mexicans Tuesday that social distancing needs to continue in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. She also stressed that in order to continue with the mid-May goal of lifting some restrictions in the emergency health order, social distancing is key to that plan.
“New Mexicans’ personal decisions will determine whether it will be safe to move forward in mid-May,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. She also that officials are seeing a problematic increase in Tuesday’s data showing that New Mexicans are not socially distancing or wearing face coverings in public.
Dr. David Scrase Numbers
Dr. David Scrase of the Human Services Department said the number of cases in New Mexico is not trending the way officials hoped that it would. He showed a map of the northwest part of the state explaining that they may be hitting its peak if social distancing remains in place. He then showed the rest of the state, which shows case numbers are starting to go back up.
Dr. Scrase says they are working to get more information about contract tracing and should be ready to share that data by next week. He also talked about how testing is improving and that they are aiming to test 5,000 people a day by May 15, right now they are averaging under 4,000.
Early Childhood Hazard Pay
In Tuesday’s news conference, the Early Childhood Education and Care Department will use a portion of its federal CAREs Act funding to offer incentive pay to early childhood professionals working in centers that remain opening during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a slide, there will be a $700 a month wage incentive for full-time workers and a $350 a month incentive for part-time workers. The governor also said that $12 million in grants for licensed child care providers harmed by the health emergency.
New Mexico National Guard
Major General Kenneth Nava of New Mexico’s National Guard talked about how the National Guard is helping during the pandemic. In Tuesday’s conference, Nava said there is 606 personnel on duty for COVID-19 response. He also said that New Mexico’s National Guard had delivered food and water to individuals in need.
The National Guard medical personnel are also assisting the New Mexico Department of Health with testing, transportation and screening.