By Kevin Wilson
Editor 

State releases details of county based risk system

 

Last updated 11/30/2020 at 9:22am



SANTA FE — The state will relax some of its public health restrictions on Wednesday, but details of a county based COVID-19 risk system show reopening will be a slow process.

The office of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced its first phase of reopening following a two-week period that closed non-essential business and severely limited the capacity for businesses that were open.

Beginning Wednesday, counties will enter one of three zones for COVID-19 risk levels. Green, yellow and red levels depend on whether a county has reached gating criteria of less than eight daily cases per 100,000 residents and/or test positivity at or below 5% — green for both, yellow for one and red for neither.

“The county-by-county framework enables counties, and the businesses and nonprofits within their borders, to operate with fewer restrictions when they slow the spread of the virus and drive down test positivity rates,” the governor said. “It’s been a difficult year and an especially difficult past month. We must remain as vigilant as ever to contain and beat the virus; we also must look for ways to lessen the burden on our communities wherever possible, while never swerving from our top priority — protecting New Mexicans and saving lives.”


Tripp Stelnicki, director of communications for the governor’s office, said the changes will take effect when the gating criteria is updated noon Wednesday at cv.nmhealth.org.

Curry and Roosevelt counties are both firmly in the red. As of the last two-week reporting period, Curry was at 129.2 daily cases per 100,000 residents and 27.1% test positivity, and Roosevelt was at 100.5 and 19.1%.

In all cases, non-retail essential businesses have no capacity limits but must limit operations to those absolutely necessary to carry out essential functions.

Red counties

These counties have met neither the new daily case or test positivity benchmark. As of Friday this is the case for 32 of the state’s 33 counties, including Curry and Roosevelt. Restrictions include:

• Essential retail spaces: The smaller of 25% capacity or 75 customers.

• Food and drink establishment: No indoor dining permitted, 25% capacity for outdoor dining; any establishment that serves alcohol must close by 9 p.m.

• Close-contact businesses: The smaller of 10 customers or 25% capacity.

• Outdoor recreational facilities: 25% capacity, or lower if stipulated under New Mexico COVID-Safe Practices.

• Close-contact recreational facilities will remain closed.

• All other businesses: The smaller of 25% capacity or 75 customers.

• Houses of worship: 25% capacity

• Places of lodging: 40% of occupancy with completion of NM Safe Certified training, 25% of occupancy otherwise. Vacation rentals limited to five guests.

• Mass gatherings defined as five persons or 10 vehicles

Yellow counties

These counties have met one of the two gating marks. Los Alamos County is the only county in this designation as of Friday. Restrictions include:

• Essential retail spaces: The smaller of 25% capacity or 125 customers.

• Food and drink establishment: Indoor dining at 25% capacity, 75% capacity for outdoor dining; any establishment that serves alcohol must close by 10 p.m.

• Close-contact businesses: The smaller of 20 customers or 25% capacity.

• Outdoor recreational facilities: 25% capacity, or lower if stipulated under New Mexico COVID-Safe Practices.

• Close-contact recreational facilities will remain closed.

• All other businesses: The smaller of 25% capacity or 125 customers.

• Houses of worship: 25% capacity

• Places of lodging: 60% of occupancy with completion of NM Safe Certified training, 25% of occupancy otherwise. Vacation rentals limited to five guests.

• Mass gatherings defined as 10 persons or 25 vehicles

Green counties

These counties have met both gating marks. No counties meet this designation as of Friday. Restrictions include:

• Essential retail spaces: 50% capacity

• Food and drink establishment: 50% capacity for indoor dining, 75% capacity for outdoor dining.

• Close-contact businesses: 50% capacity.

• Outdoor recreational facilities: 50% capacity, or lower if stipulated under New Mexico COVID-Safe Practices.

• Close-contact recreational facilities will remain closed.

• All other businesses: 50% capacity

• Houses of worship: 50% capacity

• Places of lodging: 75% of occupancy with completion of NM Safe Certified training, 40% of occupancy otherwise. Vacation rentals limited to 10 guests.

• Mass gatherings defined as 20 persons or 100 vehicles

The state will update each county’s current level at cv.nmhealth.org on Wednesday, and will provide new updates every other Wednesday (Dec. 16 and 30, Jan. 13 and 27).

A county that meets the metrics for a less restrictive level can operate under that level immediately. A county that must move to a more restrictive level has a 48-hour compliance period.

Regardless of a county’s level, the state still requires facemasks in public and will maintain its COVID-19 watchlist that subjects an establishment to a 14-day closure with four rapid responses in a 14-day period.

 
 

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