Tierna Unruh-Enos is publisher at The Paper.

The New Mexico Department of Health announced the exciting news on Wednesday that after more than a year Bernalillo County is fully open and able to operate at the Turquoise Level under the Red to Green framework. The DOH updated the statewide COVID-19 map for the two-week period beginning May 5, with 30 of New Mexico’s 33 counties now at the Turquoise Level.

As of May 5, only two counties are at the Green Level and just one county remains at the Yellow Level. Even better news is that there are zero counties at the Red Level. Eight counties advanced to a less restrictive level since the most recent update to the map criteria just this week: Bernalillo, Catron, Doña Ana, Hidalgo, Otero, Sandoval, San Juan and Valencia.

Even as the state is rapidly vaccinating anyone eligible with all available supply, the state says it’s still important to get a COVID-19 test if you feel symptomatic, have traveled, if or have spent time unmasked in the company of other –particularly non-household members and particularly indoors. Getting tested will help counties maintain their risk levels and advance to less restrictive levels when the viral risk in the community is reduced. Check out togethernm.org for COVID-19 testing sites and info.

Counties that can operate at the Turquoise Level as of May 5 are: Bernalillo, Cibola, Colfax, Curry, De Baca, Doña Ana, Eddy, Grant, Guadalupe, Harding, Hidalgo, Lea, Lincoln, Los Alamos, Luna, McKinley, Mora, Otero, Quay, Rio Arriba, Roosevelt, Sandoval, San Juan, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Sierra, Socorro, Taos, Torrance and Union. Counties operating at the Green Level as of May 5 are Catron and Valencia. The sole county operating at the Yellow Level as of May 5 is Chaves.


Should you still wear a mask? The DOH is following CDC guidelines that say if you are fully vaccinated, you don’t need to wear a mask outdoors. State guidelines say that masks are still required indoors throughout the state.

What Businesses Are Now Open?

There are no capacity restrictions on all non-essential retail, and essential retail is limited to 75 percent of indoor capacity and 100 percent open for outdoor capacity. All food and drink establishments (if NM Safe Certified) are allowed to have 75 percent capacity for indoor dining and 75 capacity for outdoor dining. Large entertainment venues-yeah, summer concerts!-can have 33 capacity for any indoor/enclosed space, and 75 percent of any outdoor space. Bars and clubs can be open at 33 percent capacity of any indoor/enclosed space and 75 percent of any outdoor space. All recreational facilities are allowed to be at 50 percent capacity of any indoor/enclosed space and 75 percent of any outdoor space.

Churches and houses of worship as well as hotels and places of lodging are allowed to be open at 100 percent capacity with no restrictions.