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NM Environment Department Releases Rapid Response FAQ Sheet
FAQ Sheet

COVID-Safe Practices
The administration recently updated the COVID-Safe Practices document (online here) to align with the new changes in the public health order, particularly regarding indoor dining requirements (p.12). This includes a requirement for restaurants to become NM Safe-Certified if they would like to continue indoor dining after Oct. 30.

Public Health Order
The latest public health order can be found here (see below a full summary). Clarifications of the order are below.
• Testing of employees: this provision is currently limited to symptomatic employees of food and drink establishments only. Employees with symptoms should not be at the workplace in the first place, of course, as screening of employees is required by all employers per the CSPs. The State will not be in a position to force employees who refuse a test, but an employer can make it a requirement of employment. The provision is laid out in the CSPs (p. 13) as follows:
o Screen all employees before they enter the workplace and send employees home who are experiencing COVID symptoms. Allow and coordinate with the New Mexico Department of Health and/or the New Mexico National Guard to test symptomatic employees.
• 14-Day Closure of Businesses that accrue 4 rapid responses over a 2-week period. This applies to food and drink establishments, close-contact businesses, retail spaces and places of lodging, including big box stores selling essential items. The Depts. of Health and Environment may use some discretion here if a business is the only supplier of essential goods and services in a community.
An excerpt from the press release summarizing the public health order is below:
The amended public health order, effective through Nov. 13, incorporates the following amendments intended to root out and prevent the incidence and spread of COVID-19 at locations identified as sources of possible exposure:
• Businesses that incur four rapid responses – which occur when an employer reports, as required, an incidence of COVID-19 in the workplace to the state Environment Department, which oversees state occupational health and safety efforts – over a two-week period will be required to close for two weeks.
o This closure requirement will apply to food and drink establishments, close-contact businesses, retail spaces and places of lodging.
• All retail establishments must close by 10 p.m. each night, in alignment with the state’s requirement that food and drink establishments serving alcohol must close by 10 p.m.
o Retail establishments are defined in the public health order as businesses selling goods or services directly to a customer and include grocery stores and “big box” stores.
• Food and drink establishments that complete the New Mexico Safe Certification training program, which educates workers about the state’s required and recommended COVID-Safe Practices, may continue to offer limited indoor dining at a maximum of 25 percent occupancy as of Friday, Oct. 30. Food and drink establishments that are not New Mexico Safe Certified as of Friday, Oct. 30, may continue to provide outdoor dine-in service at 75 percent of maximum occupancy with tables at least six feet apart among other required COVID-Safe Practices but may not provide indoor dine-in service.
o Restaurants wishing to continue limited indoor dining must consent, as part of the certification program, to spot testing of employees by the state Department of Health. The Department of Health will prioritize spot-testing for establishments in high-risk counties where the spread of the virus is greatest.
o Restaurants wishing to continue limited indoor dining must require customers who dine on-site to list their name and contact information in a logbook, and retain the information for no less than three weeks, to assist state regulators in contact-tracing efforts. Previously, this contribution to contact-tracing efforts was only recommended as part of the state’s COVID-Safe Practices.
The state has also closed state museums and historical sites.
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