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Tierna Unruh-Enos is the managing editor and associate publisher at The Paper.

This story is a staff report from The Paper.

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In light of the continued spread of COVID-19 and the delta variant Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order on Thursday requiring all state employees to either be fully vaccinated or otherwise submit to regular COVID-19 testing. Under the order, state employees who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be required to demonstrate a negative COVID-19 test at least once every two weeks.

State employees who are not fully vaccinated, under the order, must wear a facemask when indoors during the course and scope of their employment–with minor exceptions for eating and drinking. Employees who don’t comply with the order may be subject to disciplinary action, including termination, the governor said.

The order takes effect Monday, Aug. 2.

The governor’s action follows a similar requirement implemented by the state of California and President Joe Biden who announced on Thursday a vaccinate-or-test policy for civilian federal workers, as well.

The governor said she also is evaluating whether to mandate vaccinations as a condition of employment in certain high-risk settings. “Right now, it’s very simple: Get a vaccine, or else you will be tested,” said Lujan Grisham. “There will be no quarter for this virus within state government offices. I will not tolerate any unnecessary risk within the workforce under my authority.”

“I have absolutely zero appetite for another unnecessary surge of infections, hospitalizations and death,” the governor said. “This isn’t a debate. The vaccines are safe, and they work. Misinformation to the contrary will lead to illness and death–not to mention full hospitals and economic disruption.  

“If you are eligible to be vaccinated and choosing not to, you are giving the virus an opportunity to mutate and spread. Please do not jeopardize anyone’s life, anyone’s livelihood or our state’s economic recovery. Get vaccinated,” she said.

New Mexicans can schedule their vaccinations at VaccineNM.org.

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