FARMINGTON – San Juan County moved to the “yellow” category Wednesday after the New Mexico Department of Health announced an updated county map.
As a result, more businesses will be allowed to open, possibly bringing some economic relief and helping people stay employed during the pandemic.
To qualify for the Yellow Level, high risk, a county must demonstrate its COVID-19 case rate is no greater than eight cases per 100,000 during a two-week period, or must have a COVID-19 positivity rate of less than or equal to 5%.
Now, San Juan County will be able to expand the capacity of retail spaces to 33% up from 25%. If a restaurant establishment is N.M. Safe Certified and has been through the program, indoor dining can open up at 33% capacity, up from zero; outdoor dining will go to 75% capacity, up from 25%; and food establishments that also serve alcohol will be able to stay open an extra hour until 10 p.m.
For large entertainment venues, indoor operations are still not permitted, however, outdoor spaces can operate at a maximum of 25% capacity, which is up from zero.
Bars and clubs are still restricted from opening. Mass gatherings have been increased from five to 10. Houses of worship can also increase capacity from 25% to 33%. Lodging capacity also increased.
In addition to the updated map, the department also outlined a new level for counties to strive for – the Turquoise Level, or low risk. This level surpasses the Green Level, or medium risk, as far as opening things up, and in order for a county to qualify for the Turquoise Level, a county must have been in the Green Level for four consecutive weeks.
Four counties qualified for the Turquoise Level this week, including Catron, Harding, Sierra and Union. Only four counties are considered in the Red Level, very high risk, which is down from 14 counties two weeks ago.