New Mexico mandates masks in public as state begins to reopen


New Mexico will require face coverings in all public spaces starting Saturday as the state moves forward with the first phase of its reopening plan, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said Wednesday.

“As the state opens up more and more and risk increases, the only way we save lives and keep the gating criteria where it is is if we’re all wearing face coverings,” she said during a briefing. “This is not something we’re used to or accustomed to and I just really want us to do the right thing.”

The state is mandating everyone wear face coverings in indoor and outdoor public spaces. People exercising outdoors are exempt from the requirement.

“It’s not a guarantee against the virus, but it really helps slow the spread, and that’s why we’re mandating it,” the governor said.

The state is also starting to reopen some nonessential businesses with increased restrictions in place in most parts of the state.

Starting Saturday, retailers can operate at 25 percent capacity. Other non-essential businesses, such as office spaces and call centers, can also operate at 25 percent capacity but the order encourages employees to work from home wherever possible.

The order will also allow houses of worship to open with 10 percent capacity.

McKinley, San Juan and Cibola Counties in the northwestern region of the state are exempt from the order. The state said the northwestern region remains  COVID-19 hotpot. 

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