New Mexico orders two week lockdown


New Mexico announced Friday that it is reimposing a statewide lockdown next week as COVID-19 cases spike in the state and across the country.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said that, beginning on Monday, residents will be instructed to “stay home except for only the most essential trips” and urged not to congregate in groups. 

Essential businesses, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, child care facilities and more, will be forced to “minimize operations and in-person staffing to the greatest extent possible,” although they may remain open.

Essential retail spaces cannot exceed either 25 percent of maximum occupancy or 75 customers at one time, whichever is smaller. They must also by closed between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.

Restaurants will not be allowed to provide on-site dining, although they can still offer curbside pickup and delivery services.

“The rate of spread and the emergency within our state hospitals are clear indicators that we cannot sustain the current situation without significant interventions to modify individual behavior,” Lujan Grisham said in a Friday press release.

“We had hoped targeted crackdowns, limited hours of operation and amplified messaging and enforcement would make the difference and slow the spread and relieve our hospitals. The public health data make clear, however, that more aggressive restrictions are not only warranted but essential if we are to prevent mass casualties,” she continued.

Gatherings of more than five individuals are prohibited in the new safety protocol. However, houses of worship will be permitted to hold religious services indoors or outdoors, although they may not exceed either 25 percent of the maximum occupancy of an enclosed building of 75 attendees at a time, whichever is smaller.

Non-essential businesses will be forced to cease in-person services, according to the Friday order. Outdoor recreational activities, such as outdoor golf courses, public swimming pools, will also close.

The restrictions are currently set to continue in the state through Nov. 30.

Coronavirus cases have risen throughout New Mexico since September, with state health officials reporting over 1,700 new cases on Thursday. The state has reported over 60,000 COVID-19 cases and 1,176 fatalities.

The governor's office also noted Friday that "the total COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state have risen at least 214 percent over the most recent four weeks."

COVID-19 cases are on the rise in states across the U.S., and health experts have long warned that the situation could get worse in the fall with the cold weather forcing people indoors, where the virus can spread more easily.

The U.S. this week surpassed 10 million total COVID-19 cases, confirming over 243,000 fatalities since the beginning of the pandemic.

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