SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday confirmed New Mexico will retire its color-coded, county-by-county system and all COVID-19 health restrictions on commercial and day-to-day activity in two weeks.
At the Turquoise Level, the state is already broadly “open,” and counties where the virus has been sufficiently suppressed have been operating with minimal to no restrictions dating back months, but July 1 is the date of the comprehensive end of pandemic restrictions in New Mexico.
Beginning July 1, all pandemic-related occupancy restrictions on all forms of commercial activity will be lifted. All businesses across the state may once again operate at 100 percent of maximum capacity.
Facemasks, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, have not been required in New Mexico for individuals who have completed their vaccination series since May 14.
But the state will continue to follow CDC guidance with respect to face-coverings: Masks will remain required for unvaccinated individuals. Businesses, workplaces and tribes may continue to require masks for employees, customers or visitors on the premises, regardless of vaccination status, at their discretion.
Businesses may still adopt and require additional restrictions for employees and customers at their discretion.
As of July 1, all limitations on mass gatherings will be gone. Businesses, large events and organizations may operate at 100 percent of maximum capacity, whether indoor or outdoor.
The state health officials this spring set a target of 60 percent of eligible New Mexicans having completed their vaccination series to shed pandemic restrictions once and for all.
As of midday June 18, with state vaccination data through end of day Thursday, June 17, the New Mexico Department of Health reports 59.4 percent of eligible New Mexicans have completed their vaccination series, with more data still to come in. The state is anticipating a new batch of federal vaccination data for New Mexico residents receiving their shots from federal entities, which often lags by several days, by Sunday, June 20, as well as New Mexicans’ completed vaccination data from the neighboring state of Texas. In effect, state health officials said, so far as there is a “margin of error” in vaccination data, the state is well within it with respect to the 60 percent target.
“Frankly, we need to be better than 60 percent fully vaccinated,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “The variants across the globe and in the U.S. present very serious risks to unvaccinated people, even young people. We all, each of us, have the power to stop the serious illnesses and deaths: Get your shot. It’s safe. It works. It’s that simple. Don’t wait for COVID to infect you or someone you love and wish you’d decided differently.
“This week was a particularly productive week for our vaccination efforts. We will continue to push forward with getting shots into arms, and we need everyone – all New Mexicans – to continue to help mitigate vaccine hesitancy and resistance by sharing productive, data-backed information about the safety and efficacy of these vaccines with family and friends. Disinformation kills. We have to keep pushing back.”
“We will continue to work with vaccine providers in and outside of New Mexico to be sure that every single vaccination is counted,” said Human Services Secretary David Scrase, M.D. “We are grateful to all New Mexicans who have stepped up to receive their shots and who have called us to provide their data. We believe our level of immunity is in fact greater than 60 percent, including the immunity of those in our state who have had COVID-19 and have not been vaccinated, and those who have had a mild infection as well.”
“We are learning that just receiving the first of two vaccines in a series is not enough to protect you against some of the highly infectious variants,” said Health Secretary Tracie Collins, M.D. “So if you have had only one Pfizer or Moderna vaccination, please, schedule your booster shot today. And help us keep moving forward, and keep your family and your neighbors safe.”
The state will continue to promote and execute COVID-19 vaccinations all across the state.
All New Mexicans age 12 and up are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and can schedule their vaccine appointment at vaccineNM.org or by calling 1-855-600-3453. Parents of New Mexicans age 12-15 are can register their child for the approved Pfizer vaccine at vaccineNM.org.
The state’s Vax 2 the Max Sweepstakes, including five $1 million drawings (for New Mexicans who have received at least one vaccine shot) and a $5 million grand prize (for New Mexicans who have completed their vaccination series), continues; vaccinated New Mexicans who would like a chance to win must opt in to the sweepstakes at vax2themaxNM.org.
As of June 14, New Mexico counties with the best rate of individuals that have completed their vaccination series, and helped pull the state to the 60 percent mark, are:
- Los Alamos County: 81.5 percent
- McKinley County: 77.9 percent
- Taos County: 69.7 percent
- Rio Arriba: 67.5 percent
- Santa Fe County: 67 percent
- Sandoval County: 65.6 percent
- Cibola County: 64.2 percent
- Bernalillo County: 62.2 percent
- San Juan County: 61.7 percent
- Guadalupe County: 60.9 percent
As of June 14, the New Mexico counties with the worst completed vaccination rates, and where risk of infection and illness are thus highest, are:
- Roosevelt County: 28.3 percent
- Curry County: 34.4 percent
- Torrance County: 35.5 percent
- Eddy County: 35.7 percent
- Quay County: 37.2 percent