On May 15, 2020, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a ‘modified, extended public health order requiring face coverings.’ It was in effect until May 31, but was thereafter extended.
On July 2 Grisham tweeted “Mandatory face-coverings in public will be aggressively enforced.”
Yet a few days later she seems to have changed her tune, pleading on July 9 that “COVID-19 continues to spread statewide. This is untenable. This virus is real. It is deadly. We cannot afford to become complacent. Your actions can make a difference. I beg you to take it seriously.”
Electronic billboards on interstates throughout the state flash the message “MASKS ARE MANDATORY OR FACE A FINE” and warn of mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitors.
Despite all this tough language and threats, the face mask order is not being strictly enforced. Even the stores which have signs plastered on the doors, many of the employees are not even wearing masks.
I have found the same in cities across the U.S., even in states with tough mask orders such as Maryland ($5000 fine, 3 years in jail and a misdemaeanor criminal charge), Virginia, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I didn’t wear a mask in any of those states and no one bothered me; except 3 times a female cashier requested I wear a mask, and I went outside .
In her initial May 15 press release, Grisham stated, in part:
“Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday urged New Mexicans to stay the course in the state’s fight against the spread of COVID-19 as a modified emergency public health order eases restrictions on retail operations and requires everyone to wear a cloth face covering in public, among other changes.
The new emergency order, in recognition of increased risk of transmission with additional economic openings, requires everyone to cover their faces in public, with exceptions for eating, drinking and exercise. Reusable cloth face-coverings are easy to make with common household items (see explanatory video here).
“I know this is not popular, but seat belts, child safety seats and airbags weren’t popular either when they were first adopted, and we know they save lives,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “Please: Wear a mask. It’s compassionate. It protects others, including frontline workers of all types, and we owe them a great debt of gratitude. Let’s protect them and each other and our families.”
… “As we ease up on some restrictions, to make sure we don’t have another outbreak, everyone needs to wear your mask and keep your distance,” said Dr. David Scrase, Human Services Department secretary.
Masks will be required of everyone in public places, with exceptions for eating, drinking and exercising and medical requirements. The mask requirement is based in part on a recent study that found if 80 percent of us adopt a simple homemade face mask, we could reduce deaths from COVID-19 by 17-45 percent over two months, according to Dr. Scrase.
“All of us wearing masks could save thousands of lives,” he said.
The current ‘Public Health Orders and Executive Orders’ for New Mexico can be found here: https://cv.nmhealth.org/public-health-orders-and-executive-orders/