May 14, 2021

Masks no longer required for those who are vaccinated (in most situations)

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Those who are fully vaccinated can now go without masks in most situations in New Mexico—indoors or outdoors.

The state Department of Health followed federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance in making sweeping changes to its suggested mask use.

Getting vaccinated is the ticket to a safe and healthy COVID-free future,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “We are close and getting closer. But that all depends on New Mexicans continuing to protect themselves and their community by getting vaccinated – please find vaccines near you at vaccineNM.org and get your shot!”

The guidance does provide for some situations where those who are vaccinated will still need to wear masks, like on buses, trains or airplanes or other mass transit as well as health care settings and congregate settings like homeless shelters or correctional facilities.

The state Public Education Department said that masks would still be required in school except when students or teachers were eating or drinking.

The mass gathering limits for counties will remain in place for now.

The sweeping change comes just weeks after another big change, when the CDC said masks would not be needed outside for those vaccinated. It also comes as vaccination rates continue to grow in New Mexico and nationwide.

Health officials continued to say that New Mexicans should get vaccinated.

“While the science is clear that vaccinated individuals are protected, New Mexicans must continue to get vaccinated in order to guarantee that protection,” Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrase said. “Vaccines are safe, effective, and widely available to New Mexicans – please get vaccinated.”

DOH Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins said that more than 99 percent of the new COVID-19 cases nationwide are among those who are not vaccinated.

As of Thursday, 51 percent of all New Mexicans aged 16 and older are fully vaccinated and 62.3 percent of those the same age have had at least one dose. Lujan Grisham has said once the state hits 60 percent of those age 16 and over who are fully vaccinated, the state would lift all capacity restrictions.

Nationwide numbers from the CDC show that 35.4 percent of all Americans are fully vaccinated and 46.4 percent have had at least one dose.