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New Mexico Reinstates Statewide Mask Mandate

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Amid rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in New Mexico, and as the vaccination rate stagnates, the state announced Tuesday, Aug. 17, it is reimplementing a statewide mask mandate. 

Beginning Friday, Aug. 20, all New Mexicans will again be required to wear masks indoors. The state had previously lifted its mask mandate for those who were fully vaccinated back in May.

Masks will be required of everyone 2 years old and up except when eating or drinking. 

That includes at school, modifying the state guidelines released last month that allowed districts to keep masks optional for vaccinated students. 

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says the mandate is set to last through mid-September, but could be extended. “Viral spread is filling New Mexico hospitals, hospital beds,” she said at Tuesday’s news conference. “And masks, of course, are going to help us stop that spread.”

In separate orders announced Tuesday, the state will require hospital and congregate living facility workers to get vaccinated with limited medical and religious exemptions. School staff also must now be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing.  

Nash Jones (they/them) is a general assignment reporter in the KUNM newsroom and the local host of NPR's All Things Considered (weekdays on KUNM, 5-7 p.m. MT). You can reach them at nashjones@kunm.org or on Twitter @nashjonesradio.
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