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New Mexico governor offers support to businesses that continue to enforce masks

Hospitals still require face coverings regardless of vaccination status
All students from Montezuma-Cortez schools in kindergarten to 12th grade are required to wear face masks on buses and at school. Texas, on the other hand, is prohibiting mask mandates. (Courtesy of Dawn Robertson)

FARMINGTON – The New Mexico governor’s office said Friday it supports “municipalities, businesses and workplaces” that still require face masks, regardless of vaccination status.

“Businesses have the right to establish additional standards of service should they so choose,” said Nora Meyers Sackett, spokeswoman for the governor’s office. “All individuals who are unvaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated are still required, per the public health order and CDC guidance, to wear a mask in public settings.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest guidance on mask wearing does not apply to certain settings or places, such as transportation hubs and health care facilities.

“To do all we can to protect our vulnerable patient populations and each other from COVID-19, San Juan Regional Medical Center and our San Juan Health Partners clinics will continue to follow all current COVID-safe recommendations, including the use of PPE for our caregivers and mandatory masks for everyone who enters our facilities,” said Laura Werbner, spokeswoman for the hospital.

In New Mexico’s neighboring state to the east, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting government entities such as counties, cities, school districts, public health authorities or government officials from mandating masks, according to a news release from the governor’s office Tuesday.

Schools in Texas will no longer require anyone – parent, teacher, student, staff member or other visitor – to wear a mask inside the school regardless of vaccination status. Any of these types of entities violating the prohibition of mask mandates can be subject to a fine of up to $1,000, according to the release.

“We encourage all New Mexicans to continue adhering to COVID-safe practices, and above all, the state encourages every eligible New Mexican to get vaccinated in order to protect themselves and their fellow community members,” Sackett said.

The vaccine is now available for ages 12 and up (Pfizer), and New Mexicans can register quickly and easily at www.vaccinenm.org.

mmitchell@durangoherald.com

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