Updated: July 06, 2020 06:21 PM
Created: July 06, 2020 04:42 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Letters from the New Mexico State Tourism Department published in six newspapers in Texas and Arizona this past weekend inform residents in those states that New Mexico’s rules regarding public face mask usage and travel are different and visitors to our state should comply.
The letters are accompanied by iconic images of New Mexico and start off with an endearing note. The letters published in Texas start off with, “We deeply appreciate your Texas pride, love of retail therapy, sophisticated eye for art, and your overall good-natured spirit.”
“It’s no secret that New Mexico’s charms thrill you, too. Our natural splendor, rich culture, Native heritage, and chile-centric cuisine draw you here year-round.”
But the six full page advertisements that the NM Tourism spent $67,000 on in major newspapers in Phoenix, Tucson, Austin, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas remind Texans and Arizonans that New Mexico’s rules are different. \
The letter goes on to state, "We ask you, as one of our closest neighbors, to join us in making the promise. It’s nothing complicated, just a few simple guidelines like social distancing and wearing a face mask.”
Cody Johnson, a spokesman for the NM Tourism Department, stated Texas and Arizona cities were targeted specifically because COVID-19 rates are soaring in those states.
“There is a surge and a rise in our neighboring states,” Johnson said. “We just wanted to find an opportunity to share that information with the traveling public in our neighboring states.”
New Mexicans have been quick to notice visiting tourists not following New Mexico’s Public Health Orders. Gerald Marchewka sits in the Santa Fe Plaza writing poetry every day. It gives him an opportunity to meet tourists from all corners of the Earth, but its Texans he points out as being particularly defiant.
“I have seen there is a bit of a difference,” Marchewka said. “There seems to be more people from Texas not wearing masks. People from Santa Fe and around New Mexico tend to wear masks.”
Texas’s governor only mandated face masks in public a few days ago, but some Texas counties have vowed to not enforce the law. And Arizona’s governor has yet to make face masks in public mandatory.
Last week, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham changed her health order to require all travelers flying in and driving into New Mexico to self-quarantine for 14 days and those not wearing face masks in public are subject to $100 fines.
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