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New Mexico will fine people $100 for not wearing masks, force businesses to comply​


Reopening is on hold

Michelle Lujan Grisham, governor of New Mexico, speaks during an interview at her office in Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019. (Steven St John/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

New Mexico Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham instituted penalties for individuals who don't wear masks in public, and announced more aggressive enforcement measures to force businesses to require customers to wear face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Individuals who don't wear face coverings in public could be hit with a fine of $100, and business will be required to make customers wear masks, although she did not detail the specific penalties non-compliant businesses might face.

Phase 2 of the state's reopening plan is now paused until at least July 15, at which point it will be reevaluated—and could potentially go backward, if things get worse. All visitors from out-of-state, whether driving or flying, will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

"We're going to do enforcement and hold people accountable," Lujan Grisham said. "If you're flying in, you're quarantined. If you want to drive here for vacationing, you're quarantined in your room."

Lujan Grisham criticized the federal government for not requiring masks as a part of its coronavirus response strategy, although that criticism opens her up to questions about why she didn't exercise authority to require masks before now, if she felt it was an effective strategy.

"There is no federal strategy," Lujan Grisham said. "If the federal strategy early in this pandemic had been to require all Americans to wear masks, more things would be open, fewer people would die, and the rate of infection and transmission for the entire country would be much lower."

New Mexico has not been hit very hard by COVID-19 relative to other areas of the country. On its worst days, which both came in May, 12 people reportedly died of the virus. The seven-day moving average of daily COVID-19 deaths sits at 2 as of Thursday. In total, New Mexico has seen a reported 12,276 cases and 500 deaths since the beginning of the outbreak.

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