New Mexico reimplements indoor mask mandate; will require vaccination in high-risk settings
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that the state will temporarily reimplement a statewide requirement that face masks must be worn in all public indoor spaces, with only limited exceptions, and regardless of vaccination status.
State officials said New Mexico will also require vaccination for all workers in certain medical close-contact congregate settings – including hospitals, nursing homes, juvenile justice facilities, rehabilitation facilities, state correctional facilities and more.
The state has also issued a requirement that all workers at private, public and charter schools in New Mexico either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or otherwise submit to COVID-19 testing on a weekly basis. This policy aligns with the state’s requirement for all state government personnel.
By the end of August, the state is expected to see 1,000 COVID-19 cases daily.
- To read the full public health order on masks, click here. It will take effect Friday, Aug. 20.
- To read the full public health order on vaccination requirements, click here.
Under a public health order issued by Acting Health Secretary David Scrase, the reimplemented mask requirement applies to all individuals age 2 and older in all indoor public settings – except when eating or drinking.
Masks will be required to everyone in school buildings regardless of vaccination status, which aligns with the most recent guidance from the CDC. State officials said the Public Education Department has been in the process of updating its toolkit for schools and district personnel.
The indoor mask requirement will be effective Friday, Aug. 20. It will remain in effect until at least September 15.
State officials said businesses, houses of worship and other entities may enact stricter requirements at their discretion.
VACCINES REQUIRED IN HIGH-RISK SETTINGS
“Congregate care facility workers,” as defined in the public health order, are all paid and unpaid individuals working in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day cares, hospice facilities, rehabilitation facilities, state correctional facilities, juvenile justice facilities and residential treatment centers or community homes.
Unvaccinated individuals who do not qualify for an exemption must receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine within 10 days of Tuesday, Aug. 17, and their second dose, as needed, within 40 days of receiving the first shot. Those individuals must provide documentation to their supervisor or the operator of the facility in which they contract or work.
NEW REQUIREMENTS FOR SCHOOL WORKERS
Under that public health order detailing the vaccination requirements for workers in hospitals and congregate settings, the state also outlined a new vaccinate-or-test policy for workers in New Mexico schools.
All school workers in public, private or charter schools who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or who are unwilling to provide proof of vaccination to their respective supervisors must, effective Monday, Aug. 23, provide proof of a COVID-19 test on a weekly basis.
This is a developing story. Stay with KOB Eyewitness News 4 and KOB.com for updates.