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City, county relax mask mandates


The Las Cruces City Council unanimously approved a resolution renewing an emergency proclamation regarding Covid-19 and relaxing requirements for wearing masks in the city. The vote came during a May 24 special council meeting.

The Doña Ana County Commission took similar action at its May 25 regular meeting.

Under the city resolution, which mirrors Gov. Michelle Lujan’s May 14 statewide executive order, “If you’ve been vaccinated you don’t have to wear a mask in any city building,” Mayor Ken Miyagishima said at the meeting.

Also in keeping with state public health orders, the city will not require those who are vaccinated to wear masks outside. Masks are not required for gatherings of 20 or fewer people, but are required for gatherings of 20-150. Gatherings of more than 150 are prohibited. The new resolution is effective immediately.

Because vaccinations are not available to children under age 12, Miyagishima said soccer players ages 8-10 must wear masks.

Within the city, businesses and nonprofits may continue to mandate that facemasks be worn on their premises, the mayor said. Masks also continue to be mandated on public transit because of federal mandates, Miyagishima said.

The resolution also asserts that the city remains in a state of public health emergency because of the pandemic.

At its May 25 regular meeting, the county commission unanimously passed an ordinance repealing a previous ordinance “requiring face coverings or masks be work in public in Doña Ana County.”

The county action also “would follow the exact same guidelines the rest of the state is following under the public health orders and emergency declarations from the governor,” County attorney Nelson Goodin said at the meeting.

Goodin said the new ordinance, which governs unincorporated areas of the county, will not take effect until it is published in late June. That means the current ordinance requiring facemasks remains in effect for those unincorporated areas.

Goodin said he was not aware of any citations issued by the county for violations of the current ordinance.

Under the governor’s May 14 executive order, the state adopted the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance on facemasks, which states that “fully vaccinated individuals are no longer required to wear a mask in either indoor or outdoor settings. All individuals who are unvaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated are still required … to wear a mask in public settings.”

Under the public order, “all individuals, including those who are fully vaccinated, should continue to wear well-fitted masks where required by localities, tribal entities, and individual businesses.”

The public health order also requires that masks continue to be worn “by all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, in health care settings (hospitals, long-term care facilities, and doctors’ offices), homeless shelters and public transportation (buses, trains, and planes, airports and stations). And, “masks continue to be required in schools for all students and school staff regardless of vaccination status.”