Published: 3:17 pm, Wed. Mar. 18th, 2020
SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico has confirmed a coronavirus infection that has no apparent link to travel as the governor takes new steps to limit the spread of the contagion by limiting restaurants to take-out service and closing down movie theaters, gyms and shopping centers.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham today announced five new positive tests for coronavirus, bringing the state total to 28 infections. A woman in her 40s in the Albuquerque area is the first case of so-called community spread in which there is no clear connections to travel outside the state.
Purchases are being limited for over-the-counter medical and some sanitary supplies to prevent hoarding and shortages. New state orders take effect Thursday morning and include:
• All mass gatherings are now prohibited, including in restaurants, bars, breweries, and other food-service establishments. Those establishments are now limited to takeout service and home delivery only.
• Shopping malls, recreational facilities, health clubs, spas, movie theaters, and flea markets have also been directed to close.
• Office environments that do not engage in essential services have been instructed to immediately limit operations to a feasible extent and are encouraged to limit contact to groups of 10.
• Casinos and horseracing facilities are instructed to close. That does not include tribal casinos; however, the governor is working with sovereign tribal partners to do the same, with many having already followed suit.
• Hotels, motels, and other places of lodging have been instructed to move to 50-percent capacity, effective immediately.
All directives will remain in effect until April 10, at which time the situation will be reassessed. The governor also reminded entities that the state has the power, through emergency orders, to fine those in noncompliance.
“I want people to understand that we know this is incredibly painful to those businesses,” Lujan Grisham said. “That pain is felt everywhere, and it’s really something I take into consideration every time we make an order that I know impacts the viability of these businesses.
“But I Have to protect the state and the wellbeing of our healthcare workers and our police officers, and that means if these civil penalties must go out, they will.”