City reinstates mask requirement inside its facilities - Albuquerque Journal

City reinstates mask requirement inside its facilities

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

With local COVID-19 cases on the rise, the city of Albuquerque is once again requiring people to wear masks at libraries, community centers and all other indoor facilities, regardless of their vaccination status.

The city reinstated the policy on Monday, referring to it as “protective requirements to protect against a resurgence of the COVID-19 outbreak.”

It joins Bernalillo County, which last week announced it would also again require everyone to wear masks inside its facilities.

City government had in May dropped the mask requirement for vaccinated individuals, except for certain facilities, such as the Albuquerque International Sunport.

But New Mexico has seen higher rates of COVID-19 in recent weeks. The state Department of Health on Monday reported 1,076 new infections from Saturday to Monday. That’s up from 632 reported the previous weekend and 378 two weekends ago.

Bernalillo County alone had 340 cases in the past three days, according to the DOH report.

Albuquerque city government – one of the metro’s largest employers – is not requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, nor does it know how many in its ranks have received shots. City officials said in response to Journal questions that only the DOH has that information.

Last week, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that all state government workers must be vaccinated or undergo regular testing for the virus. New York City and the state of California are doing something similar.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller had in June said he did not think a mandate that city employees be vaccinated was “appropriate” at that juncture, but city officials left open the possibility of at least a testing regimen on Monday.

“We are keeping a close eye on COVID trends and how various policies across the state are working, and will adjust our approach if needed,” Roger Ebner, the city’s director of Office of Emergency Management, said in a written response to Journal questions.

A Bernalillo County spokesman, meanwhile, said Monday that it is weighing a possible vaccine mandate for employees.

“The county is looking into that, exploring that possibility and keeping a close eye on how this works for the state, and a decision will be made down the road,” spokesman Tom Thorpe said.

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