New Mexico indoor mask mandate returns with new vaccine requirements

New Mexico is reinstating a face mask mandate in all public indoor buildings and issuing a vaccination mandate for workers in hospitals, nursing homes and other "certain medical close-contact congregate settings," Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced Tuesday.

Grisham's office said in a press release that masks and vaccines are needed to protect "scarce hospital resources and the state's ongoing economic recovery" amid the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus.

"We all have a role to play,” Grisham said in a statement. “No one wants to go backward. No one wants to see our recovery endangered by another – and preventable – surge of serious illness. No one wants a full hospital turning away New Mexicans who need care. So mask up indoors to stop the spread. And vaccinate if you haven’t vaccinated."

Grisham also announced that all staff at private, public and charter schools in the state must either receive the coronavirus vaccine or submit to weekly testing. 

Seventy-five percent of New Mexicans 18 and over have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 66 percent of the state's population over 18 has been fully vaccinated, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. 

New Mexico is the latest in a number of states, including Oregon and Kentucky, that have imposed mask mandates to combat a rise in COVID-19 cases. 

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