That means mask won't be required indoors anymore, Lujan Grisham said at a press conference while taking her own mask off, according to KOAT. Privately-owned businesses and school districts can set their own mask policy, however.
New Mexico was among the final states in the U.S. that still had a mask mandate. Washington announced Thursday it'd lift its mask mandate effective March 21. Oregon and Illinois still have a mask mandate, according to NBC News.
Lujan Grisham's announcement comes as COVID-19 cases in New Mexico are on the decline. Health Secretary Dr. David Scrase said there has been a 35-37% drop in hospitalizations and hospital and ICU beds are finally opening up.
Despite the termination of the state's mask mandate, Scrase is discouraging New Mexico residents from throwing their masks away. "We are moving into an era where we will learn to live with COVID with tools in our home. Treatments and testing put us in a whole new ballgame than where we were two years ago.Masks work, and will reduce your chances of getting and spreading. I’m not going home and throwing out all of my masks. I’ll wear a mask in a large crowd, when we have people over … This is an important tool. Don’t throw it away," he said.
There are still some exceptions, however. The following places still have a mask mandate:
- All public hospitals
- Profit or nonprofit public hospitals
- General hospitals
- Special hospital nursing facilities
- Assisted living facilities
- Adult day cares
- Hospice facilities
- Rehabilitation facilities
- State correctional facilities
- Juvenile justice facilities
- Residential treatment centers
- The New Mexico State Veterans’ Home
- Community homes