March 3, 2023

Lujan Grisham to end state’s COVID-19 public health emergency

The state’s COVID-19 public health emergency will come to an end at the end of March, a little more than three years after the governor first issued her executive order over the deadly respiratory illness.

The governor announced her renewal of the public health emergency order on Friday would be the final one, and it would expire on March 31. 

“While we’re still seeing COVID cases, our preparedness and collaborative work have helped turn a once-in-a-century public health emergency into a manageable situation,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement on Friday. “We are working diligently across state agencies to make sure New Mexicans continue to be supported as federal COVID programs wind down.” 

This comes as the federal government also plans to end its COVID-19 emergencies. President Joe Biden announced earlier this year that he would end the national emergencies for COVID-19 on May 11. 

Lujan Grisham first declared a public health emergency on March 11, 2020, the same day the state detected its first confirmed cases of the disease. 

In the coming weeks, the governor included drastic efforts to slow the spread of the disease, including shuttering restaurants, banning public gatherings and implementing capacity restrictions in places like grocery stores. The state also, for a time, mandated the use of masks in public areas.

The state gradually relaxed these tactics. The end of the mask mandate over a year ago was the most public acknowledgement that the state was returning to a pre-COVID-19 status quo.

Weekly press conferences discussing the state’s response slowed and eventually ended.

The state has confirmed 669,890 cases of COVID-19 since that day—although testing numbers have slowed to a fraction of the peak of the state’s testing regime—with tens of thousands hospitalized for the disease. The state has attributed 9,048 deaths to the disease, including 43 between Jan. 10 and Feb. 6, the last dates for which public numbers are available. 

As with areas worldwide, the disease and efforts to combat it reshaped New Mexico.

The state has also reported administering over 4.6 million doses to New Mexican, between the primary series, a booster series and the bivalent booster aimed at the Omicron variant.

Some Republican legislators have sought to limit the governors’ powers to declare a public health emergency. Those efforts have languished.

The state enacted the emergency law following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.


  • Matthew Reichbach

    Matthew Reichbach is the editor of the NM Political Report. The founder and editor of the NM Telegram, Matthew also a co-founded New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and one of the original hires at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation and formerly published, “The Morning Word,” a daily political news summary for NM Telegram and the Santa Fe Reporter.