The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Governor to state agencies: Minimize face-to-face contact


March 15, 2020

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Sunday directed state agencies to “accelerate remote-work initiatives” and “temporarily adjust, and in some cases suspend, certain functions in order to minimize public health risks.”

The action is in response to COVID-19 concerns.

“We’re asking every state employee to continue serving the public. Some can do that best by coming to the office and delivering indispensable services — and some can do that best by working from home and protecting the public health,” Lujan Grisham said in a news release.

“We are emphasizing social distancing with minimal disruption to services  and that’s what we recommend for all.”

In addition, the governor encouraged all New Mexicans to avoid social gatherings, wash their hands, and, “bottom line, stay home.”

The news release said as part of the directive, New Mexico state agencies will make adjustments to their operations, including the following actions:

• Closing all state museums, state historic sites, state parks and cultural institutions to the public effective Monday morning; state visitors centers were previously closed to the public.

• In government offices that provide direct service (for example, MVD), limiting staff and moving to an alternative or remote model of service; all other state government buildings and leased state offices are closed to the public

• Completing the transition of all employees who are able to work remotely to a remote work model

“Through this directive, the state of New Mexico will continue to provide a robust set of services to people across the state while limiting the opportunity for person-to-person contact,” the news release stated.

“Public health experts advise that social isolation is the most important strategy for containing and mitigating the spread of COVID-19.”

The governor also encouraged local governments to follow suit and implement telework policies for as many employees as possible and “take other steps to limit person-to-person contact in order to emphasize social distancing.”

The decision followed previous orders declaring a state of emergency, banning large social gatherings, sharply limiting access to nursing homes, and closing public schools through April 5.

As of Sunday afternoon, 17 New Mexicans had tested positive for COVID-19 in four counties: Bernalillo, Sandoval, Santa Fe and Socorro.

On Friday, Cannon Air Force Base officials posted a video online reporting there are no positive cases in the region. It said three Cannon personnel are in a "self-monitor phase" due to regions they've recently traveled.


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