FAQ: What you need to know about New Mexico’s Public Health Emergency Order

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Starting Nov. 16, New Mexicans to shelter in place, residents to stay at home except for essential trips.

Q: Does this apply to all counties in New Mexico?

A: Yes

What changed in the Nov. 13 update?

Gov. Lujan Grisham announced starting Monday, Nov. 16, the following is in effect:

  • Houses of worship may hold religious services, indoors or outdoors, or provide services through audiovisual means, but may not be used as a venue for non-religious events. Houses of worship may not exceed the lesser of 25% of its maximum occupancy, as determined by the relevant fire marshal or fire department, or 75 individuals at any given time.
  • Food and drink establishments may not provide any indoor or outdoor dine-in service but may provide carryout service or delivery service if otherwise permitted by law.
  • All businesses and non-profit entities, except those entities defined as “essential businesses,” must reduce the in-person workforce at each business or business location by 100%. Businesses that are not “essential businesses” may operate to the minimum extent necessary to provide curbside pickup and/or delivery services to customers but only if they are legally permitted to provide their services through pickup and/or delivery.
  • Any gathering of more than five individuals is prohibited.
  • Retail spaces identified as an essential business in the public health order – such as a grocery store, a hardware store, an automobile or bike repair facility, laundromats, liquor stores, and large “big box” retailers — may not exceed either 25% of maximum occupancy or 75 customers at any one time, whichever is smaller. Retail spaces must close by 10 p.m. nightly and may reopen at 4 a.m.
  • All indoor malls must close, except that individual “essential businesses” with separate outdoor entrances may continue to operate to the extent otherwise permitted by this order.
  • “Places of lodging” which have completed the NM Safe Certified training offered may operate up to 25% of maximum occupancy. All other “places of lodging” must close to the extent not being utilized for the purposes of housing healthcare providers who are engaged in the provision of care to New Mexico residents, individuals for extended stays as temporary housing, or individuals who are quarantining. The foregoing groups of individuals shall not be counted for purposes of determining maximum occupancy for “places of lodging.”
  • New Mexico State Parks are closed through Nov. 30
  • There will be no contact sports (football, soccer, wrestling) for Fall Sports
    • Other non-contact sports are under review
    • Fall sports will not happen if schools cannot re-open

What remained the same?


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, 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.

Q: How long will the new PHO run through?

A: November 30, 2020

Q: What are New Mexico travel restrictions?

A: See FAQ: Executive Order Traveling to New Mexico

Q. Are face-coverings required?

A: Yes. All individuals shall wear a mask or multi-layer cloth face covering in public settings except when eating, drinking, or swimming.

Businesses may not allow a person who is without a mask or multi-layer cloth face covering to enter the premises except where that person is in possession of a written exemption from a healthcare provider. Violators are subject to $100 fine


Q: What time does businesses and retail establishments need to close by?

A: Starting Nov. 13, A retail space identified as an essential business in the public health order – such as a grocery store, a hardware store, an automobile or bike repair facility, laundromats, liquor stores, and large “big box” retailers — may not exceed either 25 percent of maximum occupancy or 75 customers at any one time, whichever is smaller. These essential retail spaces must close by 10 p.m. nightly and may reopen at 4 a.m.

Q: After how many rapid response visits will a business get shut down?

A: Businesses that incurs four rapid responses – which occur when an employer reports, as required, an incidence of COVID-19 in the workplace to the state Environment Department, which oversees state occupational health and safety efforts – over a two-week period will be required to close for two weeks.

This closure requirement will apply to food and drink establishments, close-contact businesses, retail spaces, places of lodging and other places of business presenting an extreme public health risk as determined by the Department of Health.

Q: How does a restaurant or business get New Mexico Safe Certified?

A: A business can get certified by filling out a form at https://nmsafecertified.org/.

Q: What are the opening occupancy for businesses?

25% Maximum Occupancy

  • All retailers, including Big-Box Stores
  • Places of lodging – hotels, motels, RV parks, and short-term vacation rentals – that have completed N.M. Safe Certified training offered at nmsafecertified.org may operate. All other “places of lodging” must close.
  • Private educational institutions serving children and young adults from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th Grade.
  • Houses of worship may hold religious services, indoors or outdoors, or provide services through audiovisual means, but may not be used as a venue for non-religious events. “Houses of worship” may not exceed either 25% of the maximum occupancy of any enclosed building or 75 individuals at any one time

Q: What will be closed?

A: See New Mexico Public Health Emergency Order for Essential & Non-Essential Businesses

Q: What are the “Open with Safe Guidelines” guidelines?

Q: Can food establishments like restaurants sell convenience items to the public?

A: Yes. As of April 7, the New Mexico Economic Development says that food establishments like restaurants can sell products like toilet paper and other convenience items through take-out and delivery options.


Q: Will there be any youth games or competitions this fall?

A: No. Competitive play and scrimmaging are not permitted.

Q: Are youth sports practices allowed?

A: Yes. In person programs and sports must be restricted to no more than 5 individuals, including coaches, staff, and parents, and limited to youth who live in the local geographic area only (within a 50-mile radius).

Sports activities must be restricted to conditioning and skills development.

Q: Are childcare services still open? Can my babysitter come to my house?

A: Yes. Child care facilities that remain open must have heightened cleaning and social distancing requirements.


Q: What is “Mass Gatherings” mean?

A: “Mass gathering” means any public gathering, private gathering, organized event, ceremony, or other groupings that brings together five (5) or more individuals in a single room or connected space, confined outdoor space, or open outdoor space.

Q: What does the Public Health Emergency Order mean?

A: New Mexico citizens need to stay home and undertake only outings that are absolutely necessary for their health, safety, or welfare. That means only go to the grocery store or pharmacy when you need to go.

Q: Is this mandatory or just guidance?

A: The “Public Health Emergency Order” is mandatory to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 in New Mexico.

Q: Why was this order issued?

A: This is a critical intervention to help reduce and minimize the spread of coronavirus in New Mexico.

Q: What happens if I don’t comply with this order?

A: New Mexico State Police is in the position to hold businesses and people accountable. In the event businesses are not compliant, officers will:

  • First issue a written warning along with a cease and desist order.
  • On a second violation, the business will receive a citation under the Public Health Act
  • A third or subsequent violation will be sent to the Department of Health where businesses will face a civil penalty of up to $5,000.00.

“Public Health Act” according to New Mexico statue: “means an infection, a disease, a syndrome, a symptom, an injury or other threat that is identifiable on an individual or community level and can reasonably be expected to lead to adverse health effects in the community;”

Q: Who do I contact to report non-compliance?

A: Use one of the following options:

  • Call the non-emergency COVID-19 hotline at (833) 551-0518, option 9
  • Email NMSP.COVID19@state.nm.us, include: date and time of observed violation, city, county, business name and business address.
  • Contact your police or sheriff’s department on their non-emergency phone lines

Q: Should I stock up on food, necessities like toilet paper and medicines?

A: No. People will continue to be able to purchase food, toilet paper and medicine. However, people should only go to the grocery store once per week. Stores selling necessary items like grocery stores, pharmacies and hardware stores will remain open.

Q: Will there be a limit on items I can purchase?

A: Yes. In order to minimize the shortage of health care supplies and other necessary goods, grocery stores and other retailers are hereby directed to limit the sale to three items per individual of:

  • Medications
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Baby formula
  • Diapers
  • Sanitary care products
  • Hygiene products

Q: Can realtors still show houses for sale? Can you still sell or buy a home?

A: Yes, Real Estate Services would fall under #9 under “I HEREBY DIRECT” section:

Any business that is not identified as an “essential business”, “close contact business”, “food and drink establishment”, “house of worship”, “indoor recreational facility”, “outdoor recreational facility”, or “place of lodging” may open provided that the total number of persons situated within the business does not exceed 25% of the maximum occupancy of any enclosed space on the business’s premises, as determined by the relevant fire marshal or fire department.

Q: Can I overnight camp?

A: No, New Mexico state parks will close through Nov. 30 under the updated public health order. See: Camping & COVID: What New Mexico State Parks, Lakes are Open

Q: Can I still go for a hike or walk at a State Park?

A: No, outdoor recreational facilities – such as outdoor golf courses, public swimming pools, outdoor tennis courts, ski basins,  youth programs, youth livestock shows, u-pick produce operations, and corn mazes, horse racing tracks, botanical gardens, outdoor zoos, and New Mexico state parks – will close for through Nov. 30 for the duration of the public health order.

Golf courses and outdoor tennis courts are to close under the updated PHO effective Nov. 16.

Q: Can I visit loved ones at nursing homes?

A: Yes. However, there are some requirements.

  • There can be no active COVID-19 cases in the facility.
  • Visitors must be healthy
  • Social distancing required
  • Appropriate PPE must be worn
  • Visits by appointment only

Existing visitation guidance will remain in effect. This means closed window visits and telephonic/virtual visits are encouraged. Both parties wearing masks will be 6-feet apart. Residents unable to wear a mask will have to be 12-feet apart from the visiting party.

Read the full article here: https://www.krqe.com/health/coronavirus-resources/faq-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-mexico-stay-at-home-order/

Source: KRQE News 13

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