In her post-session press conference, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that New Mexico would no longer have an indoor mask mandate in public settings, effective immediately. Lujan Grisham spoke while flanked by Lt. Gov. Howie Morales and Democratic leaders from both the House and Senate following the end of the state’s 30-day legislative session. She and most other leaders removed their masks at that time. “I want to express my gratitude to every New Mexican who has steadfastly worn a mask, gotten vaccinated, and done everything in their power to protect their neighbors, as well as the heroic health care and frontline workers who have courageously supported our communities during this uncertain time,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “Given the continued drop in hospitalizations and the lessening of the burden on our hospitals, it’s time to end the mask mandate.
A majority of New Mexico voters support a mandate to wear masks indoors, an action that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the state Department of Health took place last week a day after a poll conducted for NM Political Report ended. An even larger majority thought schoolchildren under the age of 12 should be required to wear masks in schools. The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling for NM Political Report, found that 53 percent of New Mexico voters thought the state should require masks to be worn indoors, while 40 percent disagreed. Even more—55 percent thought that businesses should require masks for employees and customers, while 36 percent disagreed. This all is in the background of a slight majority, 51 percent, approving of Lujan Grisham’s COVID-19 response.
In an effort to curb the rising number of COVID-19 cases, the governor announced a mask mandate for all public indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status, which she was hopeful would be enough to blunt the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant. “We’re going to use masks and vaccines to blunt the spread of COVID and see if we can’t rebalance where we are as a state, particularly given the Delta variant,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said during a press conference on Tuesday. The mask mandate will go into place on Friday, Aug. 20 and last until at least Sept. 15.
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.