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

State loosens some public health guidelines


Last updated 4/28/2021 at 4:18pm

SANTA FE — New Mexico state officials announced Wednesday some loosening of metrics under its Red-Yellow-Green COVID-19 framework, and provided optimism the state would graduate out of the color-coded system by the end of June.

Beginning Friday, counties will be measured on metrics of 10 daily cases per 100,000 residents, test positivity of 7.5% or lower and full vaccination rates of 35% (increasing to 40% on May 5 and another 5% every two weeks following — reaching 60% by June 30).

Red counties meet none of the three metrics, yellow counties meet one, green counties meet two and turquoise counties meet all three. A series of public health orders gives each designation various capacity restrictions, with turquoise allowing 75% capacity for indoor and outdoor dining and most retail spaces.

Counties will still be evaluated every two weeks, but counties that make turquoise will stay in the turquoise designation for at least four weeks.

Previously, the color-coded system set benchmarks of 8 daily cases per 100,000 and test positivity of 5% or lower, without vaccination rates considered.

Additionally, the state no longer require mask wearing when:

• Exercising alone outdoors or with members of the same household

• Attending an outdoor gathering of fully vaccinated individuals no larger than the county’s mass gathering limit (or 20, whichever is less). If the gathering includes a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated people, the fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear masks.

Masks will still be required in any indoor space, with the exception of while eating or drinking.

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