The state’s emergency public health order has been amended to allow more shoppers into essential retail stores, such as groceries and other large “big box” retailers that generate a percentage of their revenue from consumable food and drink products, as cold weather grips most of New Mexico.
The new order eliminates the occupancy limitation on the number of people in a store and stipulates a occupancy percentage based on a county’s status in the state’s graduated red-to-green system of measuring the risk of viral spread for the coronavirus.
The amended public health order establishes essential retail spaces may operate at:
•25 percent of maximum occupancy at the Red Level
•33 percent of maximum occupancy at the Yellow Level
•50 percent of maximum occupancy at the Green Level
Valencia County is at the Red Level.
The amended emergency public health order is effective today, Wednesday, Dec. 16.
Essential retail spaces, as defined in the emergency public health order, include:
- grocery stores
- food banks
- farmers’ markets and vendors who sell food
- convenience stores
- other businesses that generate more than one-third of their revenue from the sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet food, animal feed or supplies, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other consumable food and drink products
- automobile repair facilities
- bike repair facilities
- retailers who generate the majority of their revenue from the sale of automobile or bike repair products
- hardware stores
- laundromats and dry cleaner services
The state encourages essential retailers to adopt designated hours for senior citizens or otherwise high-risk populations, and reminds New Mexicans to limit outings and the number of people who travel on those outings — for instance, shopping for groceries can be done by one household member, rather than an entire family.
“Our priority is ensuring physical distancing in high-traffic areas, like stores that people must frequent to meet essential needs,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “With colder weather here, we want to ensure that people aren’t gathering in lines for an unsafe length of time, especially in communities where there are fewer retail options for essential needs. We are grateful to the numerous companies and stores across New Mexico that have made every effort to keep their customers, employees and communities safe.
“The safe choices remain the same: Stay at home whenever you can, avoid groups and gatherings, and always wear your mask when you must leave the house.”
For more information about the state’s red-to-green framework, visit cv.nmhealth.org/redtogreen.
The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.