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State announces details of county-by-county reopening

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Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the state Department of Health announced on Friday the details of the state’s “red to green” reopening system for counties.

The system, which will go into place on Dec. 2 when the current two-week “reset” with a shutdown of in-person business at non-essential workplaces is set to end, would allow counties to further reopen based on the rate of spread and the per capita numbers of cases. 

Counties that are in the “red” zone have a “very high” risk of COVID-19, while those marked “yellow” have high risk and those that are “green” have medium risk.

As of now, 32 of the 33 counties in the state are red, while Los Alamos County is yellow. The map will be updated every other Wednesday, according to DOH.

Lujan Grisham ordered the shutdown earlier this month after New Mexico experienced record numbers of COVID-19 cases, patients and deaths. 

“The county-by-county framework enables counties, and the businesses and nonprofits within their borders, to operate with fewer restrictions when they slow the spread of the virus and drive down test positivity rates,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “It’s been a difficult year and an especially difficult past month. We must remain as vigilant as ever to contain and beat the virus; we also must look for ways to lessen the burden on our communities wherever possible, while never swerving from our top priority – protecting New Mexicans and saving lives.”

Those counties with lower incidents of COVID-19 will have fewer restrictions. But the statewide mask mandate remains, as well as a 14-day closure for businesses that have had too many positive cases among employees, with exceptions if the business is an essential provider of goods and services in the committee and for those that have regular testing and contact tracing.

At the green level, more businesses will be able to open at a higher capacity and larger gatherings will be allowed.

To reach this level, counties must have a COVID-19 rate of no more than 8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and a test positivity rate at or below 5 percent. Those at the yellow level will be those that reach one of those two metrics. Those at the red level are counties that have not met either metric.

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