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Posted on: September 3, 2020

N.M. Quarantine Requirements Eased for Certain States

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Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday issued a revised executive order amending the mandatory quarantine for individuals arriving into the state of New Mexico, exempting travelers and residents arriving from states with lower COVID-positivity rates while retaining the quarantine requirement for those arriving from high-risk states. The governor also announced a change to the state’s operative emergency public health order, amending occupancy limits for hotels. The changes are effective Friday, Sept. 4.

“In order to strike a balance between public health and ensuring New Mexicans can live and move safely in a COVID-positive world until the arrival of an effective and widely available vaccine, we have to make tough, strategic and data-driven decisions,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “As I have said, we have to maintain the necessary precautions to keep the people of New Mexico safe while identifying areas where we can amend restrictions to address our state’s economic crisis. Without a coherent federal plan, we are on our own, and it is up to New Mexicans to keep making the right decisions every day to protect themselves, their families and our state.”

To assure public health and safety and to minimize the community spread of COVID-19, individuals arriving from states with a 5% positivity rate or greater or a new case rate greater than 80 per 1 million residents, each calculated over a 7-day rolling average, must physically separate from others in a residence or place of lodging for at least 14 days from the date of their entry into New Mexico or for the duration of their presence in the state, whichever is shorter.

These high-risk states and territories where quarantine is required for arrivals into New Mexico as of Sept. 2 are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The quarantine requirement also applies to individuals arriving into New Mexico from outside the United States. 

Previously the state of New Mexico required mandatory quarantine for visitors and residents arriving from any U.S. state, the most stringent travel-related quarantine requirement of any U.S. state.

Under the revised executive order, individuals arriving from states with a 5% positivity rate or lower or a new case rate lower than 80 per 1 million residents, each calculated over a 7-day rolling average, are advised to be tested for COVID-19 within 5 to 7 days of their arrival in the state. While individuals are advised to consider self-isolation after arriving from anywhere outside of New Mexico, the quarantine requirement no longer applies to visitors and residents arriving from those lower-risk states.

In addition, individuals who can show documentation of a valid negative COVID-19 test taken within the 72 hours before or after entry into New Mexico are exempt from the 14-day quarantine requirement, regardless of the state from which they have traveled. Persons who have undergone a COVID-19 test shall self-isolate or self-quarantine while awaiting the results of their test. This exemption does not apply to persons entering New Mexico after traveling outside of the United States. 

The list of states where the quarantine order applies will be maintained at cv.nmhealth.org and updated weekly. The requirements, as before, apply to visitors arriving through both air travel and by road.

The state’s emergency public health order requires that places of lodging may operate at a maximum of 50 percent occupancy. In an amendment to the health order that is effective Friday, Sept. 4, places of lodging that have been safe-certified may expand maximum occupancy to 75 percent. All places of lodging must operate in accordance with COVID-Safe Practices.

“The hospitality industry has taken a proactive and thoughtful approach to reimagining operations in the midst of a pandemic, which inspired the NM Safe Certified program,” said Tourism Secretary Jen Paul Schroer. “The revision to the public health order to allow greater capacity for NM Safe Certified hotels is welcome news for the tourism industry. I’m confident that the industry will continue to set an example for how businesses can operate safely and responsibly for employees and customers.”

The mandatory self-quarantine, as before, does not apply to:

  • Persons employed by airlines
  • Persons performing public safety or public health functions
  • Military personnel and their dependents
  • Federal employees
  • Persons employed by a federal agency or national defense contractor
  • Emergency first responders and health care workers
  • Persons arriving in the state pursuant to a court order
  • Persons who are employed or contracted by an essential business, as defined in the state’s operative emergency public health order, who are traveling into New Mexico to conduct business activities
  • New Mexico residents who have left the state for less than 24 hours for matters attendant to parenting responsibilities
  • New Mexico residents who have left the state to obtain medical care.

All operative requirements of the state’s emergency public health order do apply to those groups of individuals, including the statewide requirement to wear a face covering at all times in public.

Individuals who are quarantined upon arrival into the state from a high-risk state may leave the residence or place of lodging in which they are self-quarantining only for the purposes of medical care. 

Self-quarantining individuals should not allow others into the residence or place of lodging in which they are quarantined except for individuals designated by the New Mexico Department of Health or individuals providing medical care or emergency response. Family or household members may visit a quarantined person, but those visitors must then self-quarantine themselves for a period of no less than 14 days.

Non-compliant individuals are subject to involuntary quarantine by the New Mexico Department of Health under the Public Health Emergency Response Act.

Executive Order 2020-063 is attached to this news release. It is effective through the duration of the public health emergency declared in Executive Order 2020-004 and any extensions of that declaration.

The state’s testing locations are available here and through cv.nmhealth.org. Individuals seeking information about testing and COVID-19 generally may also call 1-855-600-3453.

The state of New Mexico reminds residents: 

Traveling for anything other than business that is absolutely essential to safety and well-being during a global pandemic is an extraordinary risk to yourself, your family, your community and your state. Help slow the spread of COVID-19 by reducing travel outside of the home and outside of the state to only what is essential.

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