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Governor says NM face mask mandate staying put

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks about New Mexico’s efforts to contain the coronavirus in this August 2020 file photo. The governor said Tuesday a state face mask requirement for public settings will remain in place for the foreseeable future. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

SANTA FE — Texas may be scrapping its face mask mandate, but New Mexico’s is staying in place for the foreseeable future.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, during a Tuesday interview with the Washington Post, said a statewide decrease in COVID-19 test positivity rate could allow for more tourism-related activities in the near future, including the reopening of large entertainment venues.

But the governor said the state’s face covering requirement for public places is not going away any time soon.

“Here’s what won’t change: Absolute mask mandates, mandates for social distancing, making sure that businesses go through a safe-certified (process),” Lujan Grisham said during the 25-minute interview that was broadcast online.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends face masks in public settings, and masks are required to be worn on airplanes, trains and other forms of public transportation.

New Mexico’s face mask mandate was imposed by the Lujan Grisham administration in May 2020 and includes exemptions for eating and drinking, but not for exercising.

Businesses are also required under the order to ensure customers are wearing a mask when they enter the premises.

Meanwhile, Lujan Grisham, who is also the chairwoman of the Democratic Governors Association, was also asked about several recent allegations of sexual harassment levied against at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In response, she called the most allegation “troubling” and said the DGA would be releasing a statement about the allegations.

But the governor said it was premature to say whether the Democratic governors group might call for Cuomo to resign.

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