Governing school bodies will decide local masking policy
SANTA FE – Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday announced she has lifted the requirement for face coverings to be worn in most indoor spaces, effective immediately.
The indoor mask mandate remains in effect for congregate settings, including hospitals, long-term care facilities and detention facilities. The decision on masking in schools will be left up to governing school bodies, which may elect to keep or suspend masking requirements. An updated public health order, in effect as of Thursday, February 17, is attached to this news release.
“I want to express my gratitude to every New Mexican who has steadfastly worn a mask, gotten vaccinated, and done everything in their power to protect their neighbors, as well as the heroic health care and frontline workers who have courageously supported our communities during this uncertain time,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “Given the continued drop in hospitalizations and the lessening of the burden on our hospitals, it’s time to end the mask mandate. With vaccines, boosters and effective treatment options widely available, we have the tools we need to protect ourselves and keep our fellow New Mexicans safe.”
The number of hospitalized New Mexicans dropped by 37% since the end of January, down to 446 yesterday. The state’s Crisis Standards of Care declaration will expire March 11, as there has been a significant drop in hospitalizations that has increased the availability of resources at New Mexico hospitals.
“We’re turning the corner, and learning a new way to live with COVID together. Thank you for taking care of your communities, your family, and each other,” said David R. Scrase, M.D., Acting Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health. “We still need to be careful, get tested, get treatment.”
“We’re grateful to our school superintendents and charter leaders who are at the front lines of keeping students and staff safe. It’s important to us that the decision on masking is made at the school level,” said Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus.
Over 85% of New Mexicans are vaccinated against COVID-19 with at least one dose. Throughout the pandemic, New Mexicans have proactively embraced critical tools to support living in a COVID-19 world, including reducing viral spread with the use of at-home tests and self-reporting on NM Notify, accessing convenient oral treatments to reduce hospitalizations, and getting boosted as soon as possible. New Mexicans can schedule their booster by visiting VaccineNM.org.