April 6, 2020

Liquor stores, payday lenders closed as Guv extends, expands coronavirus public health emergency order

Andy Lyman

The state officially extended its public health emergency for COVID-19 until April 30, which included previous restrictions and added new restrictions, including limiting the occupancy at grocery stores and retail spaces deemed essential.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order renewing the public health emergency order on Monday. The state Department of Health also announced the new provisions of the public health emergency. She warned that if the new directions aren’t followed, she could enact further restrictions.

The new provisions go into place beginning at 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

“We must carry on undaunted in our fight against COVID-19,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “These measures will help us prevent a sudden spike in infections that would overwhelm our healthcare system. This virus is still spreading, and we must remain vigilant about physical distancing from one another. And we will ramp up enforcement of non-compliance.”

The order also adds that automobile dealerships, payday lenders and liquor stores are no longer deemed essential businesses.

Lujan Grisham had said before that the order would be extended.

The new order says that the maximum number of customers allowed in a grocery or retail store deemed essential is now limited to 20 percent of the maximum occupancy, as determined by the relevant fire marshal or fire department. Any people waiting outside to be allowed in would also be required to maintain a distance of at least six feet from each other.

The order also reduced the allowed occupancy of places of lodging—including hotels, motels and RV parks—to 25 percent of the original maximum occupancy. Previously, they were only allowed 50 percent maximum occupancy under the order.

The original order had been amended to include limitations to nursing home visitations, limited mass gatherings to no more than five people, closing restaurants and bars except for pick-up and delivery and closing all non-essential businesses and nonprofits, among other changes.

Lujan Grisham has repeatedly said in press conferences that she will do anything she can to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

As of Monday, 686 people in New Mexico have tested positive, including 12 individuals who have died. The state also says 133 of those who tested positive are designated as recovered by the DOH. 

Nationwide, the New York Times found that, as of Monday afternoon, 357,036 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and 10,522 have died.

“The difference between a worst-case scenario and a best-case scenario for our state depends on your actions and the actions of those around you,” Lujan Grisham said. “It is an enormous sacrifice to adjust our daily lives in this way – but it is one we must undertake in order to limit illness and death in our state.