FAQ: NM Travel Restrictions


Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the State of New Mexico has issued a Travel Order under the State’s Public Health Order

Q: What type of travel does this apply to?

A: Any travel into the state such as, but not limited to, travel by air or vehicles.

Q: Who does this apply to?

A: Anyone, visitors or residents.

Q: Do I need to quarantine when I enter/re-enter New Mexico?

A: You must self-isolate or self­-quarantine for a period of at least 14 days from the date of your entry into the State of New Mexico or for the duration of your presence in the State, whichever is shorter, if individuals traveling into New Mexico, whether a visitor or residents, come from high-risk states – those states that have a positive test rate higher than 80 per 1,000,000 residents or a test positivity rate greater than or equal to 5%, over a seven-day rolling average, or from outside the United States.

Q: What are the high-risk & low-risk states?

A: The website COVIDExitStrategy.org provides a map of states meeting gating criteria (map displays cases per million by state; typically those that are green and yellow are determined to be low-risk states).

Q: Do I have to quarantine if I come from a high-risk state but show proof of a negative test result?

A: There are options (these exemptions do not apply to persons entering New Mexico after traveling outside of the United States).

  • Persons who can show documentation of a valid negative COVID-19 test taken within seventy-two (72) hours before entering New Mexico are exempt from the 14 day quarantine requirement.
  • If persons enter New Mexico and are awaiting COVID-19 test results, you will need to self-isolate or self-quarantine until results come back negative.
  • If you traveled from a high-risk state and take a test while in New Mexico, you will need to self-isolate or self-quarantine until results come back negative.

Q: When does this go into effect and for how long?

A: This Order supersedes any previous orders and will take effect September 4 and shall remain in effect through the duration of the public health emergency order which currently expires, unless revised, October 2.

Q: Are their exemptions?

A: Yes. Essential employees traveling for essential work-related business. This includes:

  • Those Performing Public Safety or Public Health Functions
  • Persons Employed by Airlines
  • Military Personnel
  • Federal Employees
  • Those Employed by a Federal Agency or National Defense Contractor
  • Emergency First Responders
  • Health Care Workers
  • Those Arriving in the State Pursuant to a Court Order
  • Residents who have left the state to obtain medical care.
  • Residents who have left the state for less than 24 hours for matters attendant to parenting responsibilities.

This also includes persons who are employed or contracted by an “essential business”, as defined by the operative public health order addressing mass gathering restrictions and business closures, and who are traveling into New Mexico to conduct business activities.

Q: If I have to leave the state to obtain medical care do I have to quarantine for 14 days?

A: No. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a revised executive order August, 6, 2020.

Q: If I leave the state for less than 24 hours for parenting responsibilities do I have to quarantine for 14 days?

A: No. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a revised executive order August, 6, 2020.

Q: Are New Mexico boarders closed?

A: No. The surrounding borders are not closed. State roads remain open.

Q: If I travel to New Mexico do I have to wear a mask?

A: Yes. Mask-wearing is mandatory in public for all individuals over the age of two, except when eating or drinking. Masks are required for all activities indoor or outdoor. This includes gyms, malls, grocery stores, private businesses, golf courses, shooting ranges, walking spaces and when sitting down at restaurants prior to being served.

Q: Is there a punishment if I choose not to wear a mask?

A: Yes. If caught without a mask in public, you are subject to a $100 fine.

Q: What about visiting State Parks?

A: As of the new amended order beginning July 13, no out-of-state visitors will be allowed in New Mexico State Parks. New Mexico residents will have to provide proof of residency or may face fines.

Visitors must show one of the following to demonstrate residency:

  • Valid New Mexico license plate,
  • New Mexico driver’s license or ID card,
  • New Mexico vehicle registration,
  • Federal document attesting to residency, or
  • Military identification

Q: Will travelers with out of state plates be stopped by law enforcement or turned away at the borders?

A: No. Unless law enforcement has reason to believe you are breaking the law or not adhering to the health advisory, you will not be stopped or forced to leave the state.

Q: Can out of state visitors come into New Mexico for a day hike?

A: Do note that state parks are not open to out-of-state residents, however the quarantine requirement no longer applies to visitors and residents arriving from lower-risk states (states with less than 5% positivity rate or less or a new case rate lower than 80 per 1 million residents, each calculated over a 7-day rolling average).

Q: What if travelers are simply passing through New Mexico to get to another destination in a different state?

A: This is not a time to shop for souvenirs, visit state parks or sightseeing. Please recognize that if you are traveling amid a global pandemic you are bringing the risk of a highly contagious and lethal virus with you and taking it with you as you go. You must wear a face-covering if you are in public while in the state. Please limit your activities to only the essentials.

Q: What if I’m a trucker and have to make deliveries in New Mexico?

A: Most trucking services fall under the logistical transporting functions incorporated in the essential businesses of the state’s operative emergency public health order and are exempt from the quarantine requirement. But all visitors in the state are still required to wear face-coverings and follow COVID-safe best practices.

Q: What does “self-quarantine” or “self-isolate” mean?

The voluntary physical separation of person or group of people in a residence or other place of lodging.

Q: Are their exemptions to “self-quarantine”?

Any person who is self-isolating or self-quarantining may only leave a residence or place of lodging to receive medical care.

Q: Can you visit someone during quarantine?

A: Family or household members may visit an isolated or quarantined person, but those visitors are directed to then self-isolate or self-quarantine for a period of no less than 14 days.

Q: If I have to quarantine at a hotel, can I get any sort of financial aid?

A: All persons self-isolating or self-quarantining shall be responsible for all costs associated with the isolation or quarantine.

Q: What happens if someone doesn’t self-isolate or self-quarantine?

A: The Governor under the New Mexico Public Health Order advises all executive agencies, to take all necessary steps to ensure the screening and appropriate isolation and quarantine of individuals who travel or return from travel into the state.

This will include making temporary holds of individuals or groups, obtaining court orders requiring isolation or quarantine in compliance with the provisions of the Public Health Emergency Response Act, and imposing any civil or criminal penalties warranted under the Public Health Emergency Response Act and the Public Health Act when individuals do not self-isolate or self-quarantine as required by this Order.

Source: KRQE Staff

Photo by Nils Nedel on Unsplash

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