State eliminates 75-person limit at grocery, big box stores
Last updated 12/17/2020 at 4:30pm
SANTA FE -- Effective today, New Mexico businesses are granted increased capacity inside essential retail spaces, with grocery stores and big box locations seeing the biggest benefit.
Changes in the amended public health order effective today, allow essential retail spaces to operate at 50% occupancy at the green level, 33% at the yellow level and 25% at the red level. Previously, those spaces had to operate with the smaller of occupancy percentage or a specific number of customers at a time. The amendment eliminates the latter criteria, and will in many cases eliminate lines outside of stores.
"Our priority is ensuring physical distancing in high-traffic areas, like stores that people must frequent to meet essential needs," Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a release from her office. "With colder weather here, we want to ensure that people aren't gathering in lines for an unsafe length of time, especially in communities where there are fewer retail options for essential needs. We are grateful to the numerous companies and stores across New Mexico that have made every effort to keep their customers, employees and communities safe."
The governor continued to encourage citizens to stay at home whenever possible and avoid groups and gatherings, but wear a mask when they must leave their residence.
Essential retail spaces include grocery stores, supermarkets, food banks, farmers markets and vendors who sell food, convenience stores, and other businesses that generate more than one-third of their revenue from the sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet food, animal feed or supplies, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other consumable food and drink products; automobile repair facilities, bike repair facilities, and retailers who generate the majority of their revenue from the sale of automobile or bike repair products; hardware stores; laundromats; and dry cleaner services.
The state encourages essential retailers to adopt designated hours for senior citizens or otherwise high-risk populations, and reminds New Mexicans to limit outings and the number of people who travel on those outings.