As the number of cases of the new coronavirus continued to rise in New Mexico, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday afternoon ordered a series of additional restrictions on business operations to further prevent the virus’s spread — and she warned of increased enforcement efforts.

The new order, which takes effect at 8 a.m. Tuesday, requires liquor stores, auto dealerships and payday loan companies to close, saying they are no longer considered essential to the welfare of the state and its residents during the public health crisis.

The order also extends a shutdown of all nonessential businesses until April 30, and strongly urges residents to stay home except in the case of an emergency or to purchase necessities.

While grocery stores, pharmacies and retailers that sell household goods are allowed to remain open, they must allow no more than 20 percent of their normal capacity of customers inside at a time starting Tuesday morning.

Customers waiting in line outside stores must maintain a 6-foot distance from one another to help stem the spread of the new coronavirus, which can cause the highly contagious respiratory illness COVID-19.

Hotels, motels and other places of lodging will be allowed to accommodate no more than 25 percent of their guest capacity.

“These measures will help us prevent a sudden spike in infections that would overwhelm our healthcare system,” the governor said in a news release Monday announcing the new order. “This virus is still spreading, and we must remain vigilant about physical distancing from one another. And we will ramp up enforcement of non-compliance.”

Nora Meyer Sackett, a spokeswoman for Lujan Grisham, said in email late Monday, “Bottom line, this will be enforced, and if people continue to congregate and flout the order, it will be enforced aggressively. There is authority to penalize violators of the act and we will use it. As the governor said in her statement, these are not friendly suggestions. New Mexicans should expect to see enforcement.”

New Mexico State Police Chief Tim Johnson has directed officers to educate businesses about the new rules and restrictions, Sackett said, and “allow them a reasonable opportunity to adapt.”

Those who refuse to comply could be charged with a petty misdemeanor and face a fine of up to $100, up to six months in jail or both, Sackett said.

“Civil penalties can be up to $5,000/violation,” she added.

The state reported 62 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, with a spike in San Juan County. So far, there have been a total of 686 cases of the illness in New Mexico.

Earlier Monday, Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber issued new emergency restrictions for all grocery stores, supermarkets and farmers markets in the city to help prevent the virus’s spread, including provisions banning reusable bags.

City and state officials agreed some provisions in the governor’s order supersede those in Webber’s order, which called for stores to operate at no more than 30 percent of customer capacity rather than 20 percent, as ordered by Lujan Grisham.

City attorney Erin McSherry said the city will comply with the governor’s more stringent restrictions.

“On one hand, our grocery stores and supermarkets are essential,” Webber said in a Monday morning teleconference when he announced the new rules. “If we don’t limit customer and employee interactions, and customer-to-customer interactions, they risk being high-transference sites.”

Under Webber’s order, the city will not enforce its Reusable Bag Ordinance, which prohibits stores from using single-use plastic bags, and will stop collecting a 10-cent fee for each paper bag, as it has been doing for years under the ordinance. The fee often has been passed on to customers.

Instead, Webber’s order asks stores to stop allowing customers to bring in reusable bags and to stop charging bag fees.

Santa Fe stores must provide disinfectant for high-touch surfaces, such as grocery carts and touch pads, and regularly disinfect them.

They must close all self-service salad bars, food stations and sampling stands.

The order also calls for stores to provide exclusive shopping hours for people at the highest risk of developing the most severe symptoms of COVID-19.

In the order, Webber asks households to limit shopping trips to one per week and to have no more than two people per household visit a store at the same time. He urges people not to hoard items but to purchase enough for a period of two weeks.

Santa Fe County has 64 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including two new cases announced Monday.

But it was an increase of 25 in the state’s far northwestern corner — where officials predicted a surge this week — that drove up the daily count. San Juan County now has 83 cases of the illness.

The new cases also include a resident and two staff members at La Vida Llena retirement community in Albuquerque, which has had two deaths from the illness and a number of positive test results over the weekend.

Bernalillo County has the highest number of confirmed cases in the state, at 262, followed by Sandoval County with 114.

To date, 12 people in New Mexico have died from the virus. Most had underlying health problems.

The state Department of Health said 48 people are now hospitalized because of the respiratory illness.

The state said 133 people have recovered from COVID-19. But it is not yet clear if all those who have recovered from the illness are now immune to the virus.

Jodi McGinnis Porter, a spokeswoman for the state Human Services Department, said according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the immune response to the new coronavirus “is not really understood yet. So while there’s an assumption that people who’ve recovered from COVID-19 will have some immunity, there’s also some uncertainty.”

Danielle Prokop of The New Mexican

contributed to this story.

General Assignment Reporter

Robert Nott has covered education and youth issues for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He is assigned to The New Mexican's city desk where he covers a general assignment beat.

(47) comments

Rich McKeever

I am beginning to wonder how many of these 'protections' are what the term implies or are they more of an exercise of a governor seeing just how far she can push her agenda. She seems intent on micro-managing our lives and dictating to us on a level which goes beyond health concerns and is now impinging on political concerns.

Take the closing of gun stores and shooting ranges. Now use a bit of common sense and tell me what other place calls for space between folks more than a shooting range, unless of course you enjoy really loud noises, muzzle blasts, getting pelted with hot, empty brass shell casings or worse? Also, when was the last time your local gun shop had lines out the door, except for those instances where errant politicians seemed intent on usurping more of our rights. Now that is how this is beginning to feel to me.

I would ask all who are reading this to consider if they planning a trip to their local gun shop before the governor immediately moved to use this horrible virus as an opportunity to once again restrict our rights by closing them? I’ll bet it’s not very many. Guns aren’t the type of thing people buy one of every week so the shops don’t rely on crowds or volume business, which means closing them must have been prompted by something other than a concern for crowds that were so large they represented a danger for the transmission of a disease. If that were the primary concern, liquor stores would have been closed along with any number of other businesses I could name, yet they weren’t and the gun shops were. I don’t need to hear anymore knowing this governors’ proclivities where our second amendment civil rights are concerned, I can assure you of that.

So, with respect to this closure of gun shops and ranges and now additional places, let me state that I don't care if they wish to say it is for our own good or not. Why is it always, that our rights and liberties are lessened? Why are they never, expanded, for our own good, or otherwise? It seems that wherever democrats are elected, and they control here in Santa Fe, rights and freedoms are diminished while liberty picks up the tab. Well liberty is going broke, friends, it can no longer afford to pick up many more tabs.

Maybe it’s time that our freedoms are expanded for a change! I'll guarantee you this, it will work out to be for our good if they are. That you can count on. Think about it, then tell me if you can, when was the last time a group of people suffered because they were too free? I can't think of a one.



seems MECHELS' logistical simplicity parade is attracting a lot of rain. hope he has an umbrella handy; my BS DEFLECTOR's been out since his post re logistics. cheers.

bob chilton

Agreed! No matter anyone’s political affiliation in these posts I believe that we could all agree on one thing, that community is going to keep us from going insane during this time of chaos.

Paul Chadwick

Perhaps things are different in this stressful time, but I've never actually seen a crowded liquor store in Santa Fe even during the good times. And won't closing them just increase the amount of traffic in grocery stores that sell liquor. I mean, we have all the food items we need for probably a month, but tend to run out of beer every few days. And, remember, prohibition was tried once in America. Did it make the people happy? Did it decrease crime?[huh]

kyle renfro

i would say the true reason liquor stores were closed is to reduce the rapid spike in alcohol fueled domestics that this quarantine has created but she wont say they. Also the pay day loans because people with no money are desperate and selling their first born for money. But, in the end, the dam will break and you cant stick you head in the sand to hide from these issues. I wonder if she has started to think of a rebuilding plan since she spent all the money already.

Karen Herrera

Paul Chadwick. I totally agree. With the closure of liquor stores we are simply sending business from one store to another. As if grocers don't already have their hands full.



CARE to amplify my comments to MECHELS? like 1500 deliveries averaging 15 minutes each totals 375 HOURS and at an average of 20 miles per gallon and speed of 25 mph that's 25x375 = 9375 total miles per day and 469 gallons of gas.

at $2.00 per gallon that's $938 daily. and at $ 15.00 per hour, the drivers daily total cost comes to $5625 plus any cost of benefits.

i know i've forgotten some things.



every village has one, and based on your comments on logistics, expressed in a remarkably rude way, you must be santa fe's.

here's a simple [ according to you] logistical problem for you to solve in connection with food stores swinging over to delivery only service. assume the following modest estimates.

1500 orders per day, each one averaging 25 items, mixed produce, dairy, meat/fish/foul, cleaning supplies, non prescription drugs, beverages, including alcoholic, magazines and newspapers, canned goods, dry and canned pet food, and the many things i.m sure i overlooked.

now imagine a store employee picking and packing the order, after first having someone call the customer to get a charge card and advise re out of stocks and when the order will be delivered, and when the out of stock items will be available.

multiply this by the 1500 orders received daily. now let's not forget that delivery drivers are required to travel to all points of the compass in santa fe proper and environs and that each delivery requires 15 minutes drive time.

for maximum efficiency a command center needs to be established to provide the drivers with the location in the store of their orders and the route to take for maximum efficiency. then they load their assigned packages in the order dictated by the command center's route.

some will be undeliverable and will need to be returned to the store, accounted for and the customer called for instructions, and perishables returned to climate controlled department regulations permitting.

the 1500 orders per day is likely way low, but maybe the individual item count of 25 is close.

so, we're dealing with a mere 37,500 items to be picked and packed, rung up and charged and 1500 delivery and return runs [ 3000] daily.

no big deal for a logistics expert like you i suppose, but don't demean others who cannot see as clearly as you do. it's unkind.[ninja]

christopher quintana

Don’t understand why some of you don’t understand why some businesses should be closed. What part of social distancing isn’t understood. Waiting in line 6 feet apart? Good enough. Booze at grocery store? Good enough. Shopping for a new car? That can wait. Servicing you car? Shops are open if they want. And sorry if your rights are compromised. This is a historic event that needs unprecedented actions, and you guys aren’t the only ones inconvenienced in the country or world.


liquor stores closed.


Mike Johnson

Frau Lujan-Gruesome following her dark side and ego, power hungry mania to destroy our constitution and freedoms with her totalitarian orders that will not stand up in court when they get there, impeach her!

Angel Ortiz

I cannot believe the amount of rants and complainers that appear on this forum. Quite honestly if NM and our government does not suit your standards then move! I am sure Texas and Arizona would suit your taste.

James Morris

Amazing to read these all caps rants while officials do their best to cope with this pandemic.

Sam Donaldson

The Governor is right to tighten restrictions - lives will be saved. She listens to the scientists and follows their advice and we a lucky to have a leader in our state who does that.

kyle renfro

Sam Donaldson: Mike Bloomberg is the president we need › 2020/02/14 › opinions › michael-bloom...

Feb 14, 2020 - Sam Donaldson is the former co-anchor of the ABC News program, "This Week with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts." He served as ABC ... HAHAHA

kyle renfro


Jarratt Applewhite

Mr Renfro

There's a key on your keyboard called "caps lock". You can turn it off. Your nonsensical rants will then still be insufferable, but your narcism might be masked a bit.

kyle renfro


Brent Lambert

Good Lord. The regular whiners are on here having hissy fits with nothing of substance to contribute. Quit acting like rebellious teens and start respecting the adults who are doing what will overall be the best actions for our community. Yes it's painful, but be a grown-up and deal with it.

kyle renfro


Ted Nugent

@ Kyle Renfro: Chicken little

Manuel Martinez

To much Government

kyle renfro


Robert Bartlett

Prohibition? That will work.

Ted Nugent

Not sure why people need guns and beer during a pandemic. You go girl! NM loves MLG! And in the end, NM will outshine lots of other states. Shut em down!

Rich McKeever

Sure, nobody needs anything that you don't like, so let's be sure to hinder they're being able to get it. Doesn't matter what it is, if you don't agree with it, nobody needs it! In fact if you don't use it, then no one should right? So let's just ban it then.

Listen to yourself, because this is how you sound. I have one question, are you running for office? I ask because you sound like the type we have in there now.

kyle renfro


Ted Nugent

MLG not a joke. Go Dems!!

Maxwell Vertical

I hope the New Mexican is not swallowing this whole and is asking a lot of questions and will update this story. I read the press release, and it's very vague. Define what is meant by a car dealership. Do the large dealer service centers need to close, but Pep Boys can stay open? Does this mean the liquor departments in grocery stores need to close? If a grocery store is "at the 20% capacity" and you're sick and need to pick up a prescription, do you have to wait in a line, and where? What's the definition of "in-person"? Does this prohibit curbside and drive thru operations?

kyle renfro


Ted Nugent

That be me


Just an FYI: some pharmacies deliver to your door. Pharmaca (near Trader Joes) has been doing this service even before COVID19.

Steve Spraitz

Look what happened in Colorado when they tried to close the liquor stores

That was rescinded

Maxwell Vertical

....recinded within a few hors.

Ted Nugent

Won't be rescinded in NM.

Maxwell Vertical

This is way too vague. Automotive retail operations are already closed. Does this apply to parts and service operations?

Chris Mechels

Our tiny Governor continues to NOT act. The solution to the grocery stores is to deliver the good, and the Governor could ACT and arrange this. Close the doors, deliver the food, problem solved. Instead she simply imposes more pain on us, while she does nothing. Thanks Michelle. Yeah, thanks a lot. I'm sure she "feels our pain". And we are STILL not to wear masks, because we don't deserve them. This is entering the twilight Zone.

With both Michelle and Alan, who have never managed anything, shouting nonsense from the bridge, April will be a rough ride. God help us...

Chris Mechels

Looks like she's trying to "trump" the Mayor, who announced his numbers a bit earlier. His numbers are 30%, and 25% for the Senior's hour; hers is 20%. Better watch our Michelle, we all know Alan wants to Governor. Why not just close the stores?? and deliver?? Duuhhhh...

Ted Nugent

Chris, I ask again. Are you ok?

Lawrence Sisneros

You can take your lips off her behind. We understand you worship her

Ted Nugent

Your statement is kinda funny. Good job.

Chris Mechels

Constance, are you ok?? I have been blogging about the grocery stores for weeks, with no effect, and no response, from the government or the media. Now, suddenly, Webber discovers the grocery stores, and Michelle discovers Webber.

The grocery store problem is obvious, yet it seems that YOU never noticed. Are you ok??? The "solution" to the grocery store is to close the doors, and deliver. This is doable, and is being done around the world.

Government which just lays more burdens on us, while sitting in splendid isolation, is simply irresponsible, and that describes our Governor. Now, they are going to threaten us it seems. Nice going Michelle. I hope Alan takes your job...

Dan Chase

Who is going to deliver groceries to hundreds of people all day stupid. You think the grocery stores are just going to convert their employees to delivery people. Why don’t you go volunteer to deliver to people? Again your an idiot!

Chris Mechels

Mr. Chase, if you wish to see an idiot, look in the mirror. The only trick in delivering groceries is deciding to do it. The logistics are simple. You probably have zero in logistics, so it seems difficult. That's because you have no knowledge. So, shut up, and let the adults handle it.

bob chilton

Chris, Mr Chase is right! You talk about logistics as if it were as easy as ordering a pizza. First the store home admin would have to approve it from the top that would take weeks after their risk management and attorneys tear apart the original plan. After approval you need delivery drivers who have the proper insurance for a business (delivery system). Next you would need the infrastructure (space) to house several hundred bagged items that may include milk, eggs, meat. Infrastructure also means having the ability to take orders either by phone or through the website. You would have to have people manning the website, phones or you install POS systems which are not cheap just to take the orders.

Not impossible but not feasible at such short notice. But since you know so much about logistics and have been spouting out ideas, my advice is to call the Governor’s office, take your napkins of ideas and show the governor and her advisors what you have. Also, stop being such a bully behind a computer.

Khal Spencer

So if your car breaks down, sucks to be you?

Maxwell Vertical

Good question. Can Pep Boys, Jiffy Lube, etc. stay open but the big dealership service centers need to close?

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