Following a move to Green, Santa Fe tourism outlook appears brighter

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Santa Fe County moved into the Green phase of reopening Wednesday.

The Green level of reopening allows for retail stories, art shops and restaurants to provide 50% occupancy.

Tourists say they feel safe in Santa Fe.

"Santa Fe is the most COVID-safe place we’ve been so far," one person said.

"We’ve been to Palm Springs, Zion, Lake Powell, and I’d say people here seem to be practicing COVID guidelines more strictly," another tourist added.

Jenn Schroer, cabinet secteary for the New Mexico Department of Tourism, has an optimistic outlook about tourism due to improving COVID conditions.

"The Department of Health has ended the 14-day quarantine requirement. It is still recommended. That is no longer there," she said. "So, that has freed up the ability of a lot of our tourism businesses to invite some visitors back."

However, Schroer cautions things aren’t completely back to normal.

"The Tourism Department has not yet launched a campaign, officially, inviting people back to New Mexico. It’s not quite – it’s a little premature," she said. ""This industry is going to come back, and I believe we’re going to see it steadily come back over time and as the vaccine rolls out, we’re going to start seeing people travel again."

Schroer said her department has been bolstering its online presence, and is preparing for the day they promote travel to the Land of Enchantment.

Saleh Awad, who owns Southwest Connection with his son, said he is excited about the improving COVID conditions. He hopes it has an immediate impact on business.

"I hope that business will start picking up because we really need it," he said.

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