NM governor: Churches no longer exempt from mass gatherings
April 12, 2020
SANTA FE — New Mexico's governor on Easter eve announced that houses of worship "must now abide by a public health order banning mass gatherings to mitigate COVID-19 spread."
Churches had previously been exempt from the public health emergency order banning mass gatherings, defined as five or more people in a single confined space.
Most New Mexico churches, synagogues and mosques had already ended face-to-face gatherings, the governor said in the news release. And many Christian churches had planned virtual Easter services via livestream, broadcast or other technical means. Saturday's order offered little choice.
“We know that you want to practice your faith, as you should. But this year we must remember that home is holy," Lujan Grisham said. "The best thing you can do for your community is to stay there. While this will be emotionally difficult for so many New Mexicans, public health must be the top priority. The only way to slow the spread of COVID-19 is by staying home and minimizing all person-to-person contact.”
State health officials announced Saturday that 20 people have now died from the virus in New Mexico. The state has 1,174 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.