Santa Fe – Facing historic rates of COVID transmission and hospitalizations, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham will issue a revised health order imposing a 10 pm closure on all businesses, closing state museums and historical sites, and further restricting the occupancy of hotels and restaurants.

Like many states in the country, New Mexico has experienced a sharp increase in new cases over the past week, including 533 new cases today.

Specifically, the governor’s revised order taking effect Friday will:

  • Reduce restaurant and hotel capacity to 25%
  • Require all businesses to close by 10 pm each night
  • All businesses must complete new COVID-19 safety training by October 30
  • Close all state museums and historical sites

Describing the spike as “chilling,” state officials warned that each region of the state was reporting an upward trend in new cases.

NM HSD Sec. Dr. David Scrase, MD presents 7-day COVID averages by region, 10/20/20

“Our rate of spread is one of the highest, if not the highest, in the United States,” says Dr. David Scrase, M.D., the state’s secretary of human services and the governor’s chief COVID advisor. The state’s current positivity rate of 6.5% has “nearly doubled” since the beginning of October, according to Scrase.

Although the state’s hospitals are reaching capacity, state officials stressed that patients can and should still seek the treatment they need. As of this morning, 81 percent of hospital general occupancy is full and 71 percent of intensive care unit (ICU) beds are occupied.

State to launch COVID “watchlist” for businesses with multiple cases

The state also launched a new public dashboard listing businesses where more than one COVID case occurred. The new “watchlist” was announced by state Environment Secretary James Kinney whose agency oversees the state’s rapid response teams responding to businesses where COVID tests were traced to workplaces.

Businesses with two or three cases traced to the workplace must pause while state investigators conduct an investigation. On the fourth positive case, the business must close for 14 days to prevent the spread of the virus.

New Business Curfew

All state businesses must close by 10 pm each night, according to new rules announced by the governor Tuesday.

Restaurants, Bars Required to Complete New Training to Stay Open

The state also announced that all food and drink establishments must complete COVID-19 safety training by October 30th in order to remain open. The training is provided by the state, for free.

“For food and drink establishments, restaurants, breweries, if you don’t complete the NM Safe certification training program which is free and it’s online and it’s quick, you cannot continue to offer indoor dining at twenty-five percent,” the governor added.

Restaurants must also consent to spot testing of employees, according to new guidelines.

Read more COVID coverage at The Paper.