Various cities, counties, and states have recently passed ordinances asking citizens to wear masks in public or when social distancing cannot be maintained.  Many businesses have also posted rules about the use of masks within their establishments.  But many people are still wondering if they really must wear a mask?  And will those rules and ordinances be enforced?

In short, yes. Effective May 16, 2020 “Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham requires all New Mexicans to wear a face covering in public spaces, with exceptions for eating, drinking and exercising.”  It is recommended that cloth face coverings are used and that surgical masks and N-95 respirators be reserved for medical personnel.  New Mexicans are also reminded that face coverings should be used in addition to other preventative measures such as hand washing, and staying home when possible.  The Public Health Order states “The mask requirement is based in part on a recent study that found if 80 percent of us adopt a simple homemade face mask, we could reduce deaths from COVID-19 by 17-45 percent over two months, according to Dr. Scrase.”

Public health laws give state and local officials the right to enforce rules during a state of emergency.  The Supreme Court has upheld the rights of states to impose restrictions. Please check your own local ordinances and proclamations to know exactly what is expected in the places you frequent.

Businesses do have the right to make rules and refuse service to those who are unwilling to comply with their rules.  If you fail to abide by a rule at a private business, you may be asked to leave.  If you refuse to leave, you could be charged with the crime of Trespassing.

No individual holds the right to expose others in the community to a communicable disease. Please consider doing your part and following local ordinances and proclamations by wearing a mask or other fabric face covering while in public