This new page on the Beat, as of March 18, 2020, will be dedicated to news on COVID-19 as we receive it. Some articles in front page news, in legal notices,  columns, in sports, in editorials or letters to the editor, as well as in local and non-local news releases may also pertain to COVID-19. So please look at all pages in the Beat for ongoing news.

$400 million in loan funds now available for New Mexico small businesses

SANTA FE – The Small Business Recovery Loan Fund for New Mexico small businesses opened on August 5, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Wednesday.

The online application is available at http://www.nmfinance.com.  

The Small Business Recovery Act of 2020 allocates $400 million in funds from the New Mexico State Severance Tax Fund to provide loans to New Mexico businesses and nonprofits that have experienced financial hardship due to the public health order resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Human Services Department, Behavioral Health Services Division and the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line are announcing a campaign to raise awareness about the availability of a 24/7 statewide emotional support helpline to assist New Mexicans who are experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Talk Helpline,1-855-NMCRISIS (662-7474), provides immediate assistance, referrals, and someone to talk to in times of overwhelming feelings. Professionally trained staff are available to help a person manage stress, anxiety, fear, and loss by developing positive coping activities that help strengthen resilience.

House Republican Leader Jim Townsend (Artesia) has issued a statement in response to today's press conference regarding COVID-19:
"Today, the Governor and her staff made it clear that New Mexican voices and opinions do not matter as long as she has her emergency powers. We look to our state leaders for hope and guidance, yet this administration has made it clear that national politics and party standing is more important than you or me as New Mexicans."

Essential public health restrictions remain in effect

SANTA FE – The state Supreme Court on Monday afternoon granted Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s emergency request to stay an order issued by a judge in Carlsbad earlier Monday that would have temporarily permitted indoor dining at restaurants in New Mexico despite the state’s emergency public health order and the emergent need to take all necessary action to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

As a result, all provisions of the state’s emergency public health order of July 13 remain in effect.

The action by the state Supreme Court effectively blocks the temporary restraining order issued earlier Monday by Judge Raymond L. Romero.

Santa Fe, NM - Today a District Court Judge issued a temporary restraining order against Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Secretary of Health in response to the administration's extreme tactics for compliance in the state's economic shutdown.

"Fortunately, it looks like our liberties matter much more than any one politician's mandates, the temporary restraining order issued today will no doubt give our restaurant employees a much needed sense of relief in the wake of their job uncertainty" said House Representative Zach Cook (R- Ruidoso). "While it is unfortunate that the virus is still prevalent, this temporary ruling is a win for each and every New Mexican's constitutional rights."

New Mexico Agriculture Secretary encourages local producers to apply

LAS CRUCES – It’s not too late for New Mexico farmers and ranchers to apply for financial relief as a result of impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. The deadline to apply for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) is Friday, Aug. 28.

Applications from New Mexico producers should be submitted through USDA Farm Service Agency New Mexico offices. Contact information for local offices may be found at https://www.farmers.gov/cfap by scrolling to the bottom of the page.

“We want to make sure New Mexico producers are aware of this much-needed program,” said New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte. “We have all endured challenging times during this pandemic, and farmers and ranchers are resilient. They have and will continue to provide food and other resources for New Mexicans. We encourage producers to reach out to our partners at the USDA FSA New Mexico offices to start the process.”

The following funds are now accepting applications: 

Indoor seating at restaurants, breweries prohibited; state parks accessible only to residents of New Mexico

SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday announced a new public health emergency order re-enacting emergency public health restrictions on high-contact indoor environments where face-coverings are not worn in order to slow the rising spread of COVID-19 across the state. The public health order declaring the state's renewed public health protections is effective today, Monday, July 13 – a copy of the document is attached here.​ The order is effective through July 30.

New Mexico's statewide cases of COVID-19 and rolling average of cases have risen and continue to rise. In the past two weeks, the state has seen 3,049 new positive cases of COVID-19, representing 20.2% of the total positive cases statewide over the course of the pandemic. These trends are similar to frightening upticks creating health care and hospital resource shortages in neighboring states and across the country.