New Mexico will again shut down nonessential businesses "in order to blunt the unprecedented spike of COVID-19 illnesses and to attempt to relieve dramatically escalating strain on hospitals and health care providers across the state," Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's office announced Friday.
The amended public health order will take effect Monday and last at least two weeks.
The state imposed similar restrictions during the early days of the pandemic.
Under the order, residents are supposed to stay home "except for only those trips that are essential to health, safety and welfare — such as for food and water, emergency medical care, to obtain a flu shot or to obtain a test for COVID-19," according to a news release from the Governor's Office.
Essential businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies, shelters and child care facilities will remain open but only will be allowed to operate at 25 percent of their maximum occupancy or 75 customers at a time, whichever is smaller.
In-person dining will not be allowed during the shutdown, but restaurants will be able to offer curbside pickup and delivery services.
Nonessential businesses that refuse to shut down face a fine of up to $5,000 a day.
“The rate of spread and the emergency within our state hospitals are clear indicators that we cannot sustain the current situation without significant interventions to modify individual behavior,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement.
“We had hoped targeted crackdowns, limited hours of operation and amplified messaging and enforcement would make the difference and slow the spread and relieve our hospitals. The public health data make clear, however, that more aggressive restrictions are not only warranted but essential if we are to prevent mass casualties."
New Mexico has set records for new cases of the novel coronavirus almost every day for the past several weeks, and a sharp rise in hospitalizations has overwhelmed the state's medical system.
Public health experts had predicted another wave of infections during the fall and winter, but few thought the virus' resurgence would be quite this dramatic.
The state will use a tiered system that includes reopening benchmarks for each county. Once this system is implemented, counties with lower infections would have greater flexibility to "engage in more in-person and business activities with Department of Health approval," according to the Governor's Office.
This is a developing story and will be updated.