N.M. governor closes nonessential commerce; no gatherings larger than five people

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New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced a new step in slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus by closing all nonessential businesses and nonprofits across the state. 

The new declaration made Monday (March 23) does not change her previous order of restricting restaurants to takeout and delivery only, but it does close every business besides health care, grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and related services.  Child care workers, construction workers, plumbers and electricians are exempted also from the order. 

“Basic retail is no longer allowed in the state of New Mexico while we combat COVID-19,” Lujan Grisham said during the conference.  The order is in effect until April 10.

The governor’s announcement was coupled by a recommendation to limit travel with the exception of emergency trips. 

“Social distancing is completely necessary in order to stop and limit the spread of COVID-19,” Lujan Grisham said. 

The governor also declared that New Mexicans are no longer allowed to travel or gather in groups larger than five. "Far too many New Mexicans have still been gathering in groups larger than 10," said Lujan Grisham, referring to an earlier order. 

During the press conference, Lujan Grisham updated the total COVID-19 cases and said there were 83 total cases in New Mexico as of Monday (March 23). People in 11 of the 33 New Mexico counties currently have positive cases of the virus – three in Taos County.

Lujan Grisham said the new restrictions would be enforced and that there could be civil and criminal penalties for noncompliance. 

The complete list of essential businesses and services that may continue operating under the new order is below:

Businesses deemed essential that may remain open are:

  • Health care operations including hospitals, walk-in-care health facilities, emergency veterinary and livestock services, pharmacies, medical wholesale and distribution, home health care workers or aides for the elderly, emergency dental facilities, nursing homes, residential health care facilities, research facilities, congregate care facilities, intermediate care facilities for those with intellectual or developmental disabilities, supportive living homes, home health care providers, and medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers;
  • Homeless shelters, food banks, and other services providing care to indigent or needy populations;
  • Childcare facilities necessary to provide services to those workers employed by essential businesses and essential non-profit entities;
  • Grocery stores, all food and beverage stores, supermarkets, food banks, farmers’ markets and vendors who sell food, convenience stores, and other businesses that generate the majority of their revenue from the sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet food, feed, and other animal supply stores, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products;
  • Farms, ranches, and other food cultivation, processing, or packaging operations;
  • All facilities used by law enforcement personnel, first responders, firefighters, emergency management personnel, dispatch operators, and court personnel. 
  • Infrastructure operations including, but not limited to, public works construction; commercial and residential facility construction and maintenance; airport operations; public transportation; airlines; taxis; private transportation providers; water, sewer, trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal; gas; electrical; oil drilling; oil refining; natural resources extraction or mining operations; nuclear material research and enrichment; those attendant to the repair and construction of roads and highways; solid waste collection and removal; processing and disposal; data and internet providers; data centers; and telecommunications systems;
  • Manufacturing operations involved in food processing, manufacturing agents, chemicals, fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, sanitary products, household paper products, telecommunications, microelectronics/semi-conductor, primary metals manufacturers, machinery manufacturers, electrical equipment, appliance, and component manufacturers, and transportation equipment manufacturers;
  • Services necessary to maintain the safety and sanitation of residences or essential businesses including security services, custodial services, plumbers, electricians, and other skilled trades;
  • Media services including television, radio, and newspaper operations;
  • Gas stations, automobile repair facilities, and retailers who generate the majority of their revenue from the sale of automobile repair products;
  • Hardware stores;
  • Laundromats and dry cleaner services;
  • Utilities, including their contractors and suppliers, engaged in power generation, fuel supply and transmission, water and wastewater supply;
  • Funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries;
  • Banks, credit unions, insurance providers, payroll services, brokerage services, and investment management firms;
  • Real estate services including brokers, title companies, and related services.
  • Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
  • Laboratories and defense and national security-related operations supporting the United States government or a contractor to the United States government;
  • Restaurants, but only for delivery or carry out and local breweries or distilleries but only for carry out;
  • Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, but only where necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities; and 
  • Logistics and businesses that store, ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences or retailers.

A previous order from the governor requiring grocery stores and other retailers to limit the sale of over-the-counter medications, certain medical equipment, baby formula, diapers, sanitary care products and hygiene products to three packaged items per individual will continue. 

New Mexicans who develop symptoms of COVID-19 infection — fever over 100.4, a dry cough or shortness of breath — should call their health care provider or the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline immediately (1-855-600-3453) and self-isolate until they receive instructions. 

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