Today Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that restrictions are in place effective March 24, forbidding people to gather in groups larger than five people and shutting down businesses and non-profits unless they are considered “essential.”

The health order includes instruction to stay at home, “which is the state’s version of a shelter in place order,” said Lujan Grisham in a livestreamed statement.

Regarding “mass gatherings,” the health order exempts churches, synagogues, mosques or other places of worship.

The updated order includes some of the following as “essential business”: healthcare operations including hospitals, walk-in-care facilities, emergency veterinary and livestock services, pharmacies, medical wholesale and distribution, home healthcare 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 need populations; childcare facilities; grocery stores, all food and beverage stores, supermarkets, food banks, farmers’ markets and vendors who sell food, convenience stores, and other businesses who 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 and dispatch operators; infrastructure operations, public works construction, commercial and residential construction and maintenance, airport operations, public transportation, airlines, taxis, private transportation providers, water, gas, electrical, oil drilling, oil refining, solid waste collection and removal, trash and recycling collection; data centers, technology support operations, and telecommunications systems; plumbers, custodial services, and electricians; media services including television, radio and newspaper operations; gas stations, automobile repair facilities, hardware stores, laundromats and dry cleaner services, funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries, banks, credit unions, insurance providers, payroll services, broker services, real estate services, and businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes.

Lujan Grisham said that “as of March 23 there are 83 total cases [which tested positive for COVID-19] our of more than 5,400 tests.”

She said that New Mexico is still awaiting medical supplies and equipment to allow the state to do more testing. She said that New Mexico has the potential to do 850 tests a day with the right equipment and supplies in place.

Lujan Grisham said, “There is a high degree of likelihood that schools will need to be closed past April 6.”

The governor stressed early action to try and slow the spread of COVID-19 in the state. Most of the cases have been in Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties.

The order does not prohibit businesses from conducting business, but does require 100% of those working for “non-essential” operations to stay home.

Those businesses that are allowed to stay open are required to “adhere to social distancing protocol and maintain at least six-foot social distancing from other individuals, avoid person-to-person contact, and direct employees to wash their hands frequently; it also requires that all surfaces are cleaned routinely.

The order does not restrict the conduct of business operations through telecommute or remote interactions with clients.

Hotels, motels, RV parks and other places of lodging are limited to 50% occupancy.

Regarding enforcement, the order says, “The New Mexico Department of Public Safety, the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Department of the Environment, and all other State departments and agencies are authorized to take all appropriate steps to ensure compliance with this order.”

The order also advises people to take the following precautions: stay at home, and only undertake outings that are absolutely necessary; retailers should take action to reduce hoarding; avoid crowds; and avoid all non-essential travel.

To read the order in its entirety, click this link.

For more information, visit governor.state.nm.us/ , cdc.gov/ or nmhealth.org/.