by Sharon Niederman
NEW MEXICO — New Mexico Department of Health has added a higher ranking in its “Red to Green “ COVID-safe county assessment. If a county has been rated “green” for two consecutive bi-weekly map updates, it will be allowed to move to “turquoise” level, the highest level of business, dining, and lodging openness. A county rating of turquoise means that county currently has the lowest risk of COVID transmission.
The turquoise rating gives a picture of what gradual opening might look like.
Currently, four counties are classified as “turquoise.” They are Harding, Sierra, Union, and Catron.
Specifically, to be rated turquoise, the county must show an incidence of no greater than eight COVID cases per population of 100,000, and a positivity rate of less than or equal to five percent during the most recent four-week period.
When a county achieves turquoise rating, essential businesses (non-retail) may operate with no capacity restrictions; essential retail may operate at 75 percent; and food and drink establishments, if NM-certified, may operate at 75 percent occupancy. There is no occupancy limit on lodging facilities. And, mass gatherings of 150 people and 200 vehicles are permissible.
Bars and clubs, recreational facilities, places of worship, and close-contact businesses can offer similar degrees of openness.