Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Authorities in New Mexico, US, extend orders requiring residents to stay at home, nonessential businesses to close, until at least April 30.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Alamogordo, New Mexico
  • Hobbs, New Mexico
  • Carlsbad, New Mexico
  • Clovis, New Mexico
  • Silver City, New Mexico
  • Los Alamos, New Mexico
  • Farmington, New Mexico
  • Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • Taos, New Mexico

This alert began 07 Apr 2020 11:03 GMT and is scheduled to expire 21 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): New Mexico (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 30
  • Impact: Movement restrictions, significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham extended several emergency orders to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) until at least April 30. The orders stipulate that residents must remain inside their homes except to perform essential tasks, such as purchasing basic goods, attending a medical issue, caring for a person in need, or performing recreational outdoor activities while maintaining a proper distance from other people. Nonessential businesses, which now also include car dealerships and liquor stores, will remain closed to in-person services until at least April 30. Officials also increased restrictions on essential businesses; grocery stores, pharmacies, and other types of stores must reduce the maximum number of customers inside their locations to 20 percent less than what is normally considered their maximum capacity; customers waiting outside of the facilities must maintain a proper distance from each other. Hotels and other lodging businesses are only allowed to have 25 percent of their maximum capacity.

Officials in New Mexico have also ordered all out-of-state travelers, entering either through air or ground, to self-quarantine for 14 days since the moment of their arrival. The order includes state residents but exempts workers in essential businesses, including healthcare workers, airline employees, and employees of shipping and freight companies.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will almost certainly deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measure. Officials could amend the order on short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by New Mexico authorities are similar to actions adopted by other governments in the US and globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

New Mexico - COVID-19 Updates: https://cv.nmhealth.org/

New Mexico Governor - Emergency Orders Extension: www.governor.state.nm.us