SANTA FE – New Mexico Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel on Monday morning formalized the strengthening of the public health emergency order she issued Thursday, March 12, amending the restrictions on social gatherings to limit the incidence of COVID-19 in New Mexico. Click here to read the order. 

Beginning today March 16, at 9 a.m. the amended public health order directs that all restaurants, bars, breweries, eateries and other food establishments shall operate at no greater than 50 percent of maximum occupancy and no greater than 50 percent of seating capacity. In addition, tables and booths may not seat more than six people, and all occupied tables and booths must be separated by at least six feet. Patrons may not be seated at bars, and standing patrons will not be served. 

“We must limit public gatherings in order to limit the spread of this virus,” Kunkel said. “Bars and restaurants are no exception. We want New Mexicans to stay home to the greatest extent possible. That kind of social distancing is our best strategy for reducing the risks to New Mexico.” 

The public health order prohibits gatherings of 100 or more but includes specific exemptions for shelters, retail or grocery stores, courthouses, correction and detention facilities and hospitals, among others.  

The order defines mass gatherings as events that bring together 100 or more people in a single room or connected space like auditoriums, stadiums, arenas, conference centers and theaters.  

The amended order also clarifies that all casinos and horse racing facilities must close until April 10. This provision does not apply to casinos operating on tribal lands. 

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Contact: Jodi McGinnis Porter
jodi.mcginnis-porter@state.nm.us
505-670-4136