March 27, 2020

Governor orders all those who travel to NM by plane to self-isolate for 14 days

Joe Mabel

Albuquerque International Sunport (Wikicommons)

Anyone traveling to New Mexico by air must self-isolate for 14 days or for their time while in New Mexico, whichever is shorter, according to an executive order from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The order says that those who do not self-isolate voluntarily would be subject to involuntary isolation or quarantine by the New Mexico Department of Health.

Air travel has already been decimated worldwide by the response to COVID-19. Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller called the Albuquerque International Sunport “an absolute ghost town” earlier this week.

“Because some individuals infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms, travelers may be unaware they are carrying the virus,” Lujan Grisham said in the order. “For this reason, persons arriving in New Mexico’s airports must self-isolate for a period of time sufficient to ensure that the public health and safety is not jeopardized.”

There is currently no ban on domestic travel.

The governor’s order does not apply to airline personnel or anyone performing public safety or public health functions, military personnel, those employed by a federal agency or national defense contractor, first responder or those working for shipping or freight companies.

Anyone who is self-isolated would only be allowed to leave to receive medical care. And while family or household members would be allowed to visit, that person would then need to self-isolate for 14 days. 

The DOH had previously asked those who traveled out of state to self-isolate for two weeks in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, a disease caused by a coronavirus. The governor’s office said that a majority of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico so far have come from those with recent interstate or international travel.

The state has implemented a number of restrictions as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state banned any gatherings of more than five people, allowed only businesses and non-profits deemed “essential” to continue with in-person operations and shut down public schools to in-person classes through the end of the school year.