Colorado added back to NM travel quarantine order

A total of 39 states are now covered by New Mexico’s travel quarantine order, which is aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

SANTA FE — Most travelers entering New Mexico from all its neighboring states are now subject to a 14-day quarantine order, after Colorado was added this week to a list of “at-risk” states.

Colorado had been among a list of states deemed low risk that were exempted from the mandatory travel quarantine under a revised order issued this month by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

But New Mexico’s northern neighbor was moved to high risk this week, along with Oregon and Rhode Island, while Michigan and Hawaii were downgraded. The changes mean there are now 39 states covered by New Mexico’s travel quarantine order, which is updated weekly.

All New Mexico’s other neighboring states are also covered, as is Mexico.

The travel quarantine mandate has come under criticism in some quarters for its impact on New Mexico’s tourism and hospitality industries, which have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the current travel quarantine order, states that have an average COVID-19 case rate of more than 8 people infected out of every 100,000 or an overall test positivity rate of 5% or higher will be subject to the travel quarantine order.

New Mexico has one of the nation’s strictest travel quarantines, even in its revised form.

However, the state’s travel quarantine mandate has not been strictly enforced since first being enacted in March, as state officials have said it’s intended to function as more of a deterrent.

Tourism officials say it has been successful in that regard by discouraging many — but not all — would-be visitors from coming to New Mexico.

There are some allowable exemptions to the order, including for individuals who leave the state to obtain medical care and for residents who travel outside New Mexico for less than 24 hours due to parental responsibilities.

Other exemptions allowed include military personnel, health care workers and those traveling for business purposes.

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