FARMINGTON – San Juan County this week moved to the Turquoise Level on the state’s coronavirus color rating after the New Mexico Department of Health announced the updated county map.
Just one month after San Juan County advanced from the Red Level, the county will be able to open more businesses to allow larger capacity and bring more economic relief to small businesses about the same time millions of Americans are receiving a federal stimulus check.
To qualify in the Turquoise Level, a county must demonstrate a new COVID-19 case rate of no greater than eight cases per 100,000 during a four-week period, and must have a COVID-19 positivity rate of less than or equal to 5%.
An update in county statuses is announced every two weeks.
San Juan County has a positivity rate of 1.31%, down from 1.55% at the time of the last update, and a daily case rate of four per 100,000, down from 5.8 per 100,000 from the last update, according to the New Mexico Department of Health COVID-19 Dashboard.
San Juan County is now able to expand capacity of retail spaces to 75%, up from 50%. If a restaurant establishment is NM Safe Certified and has been through the program, then both indoor and outdoor dining can open at 75%.
For large entertainment venues, indoor operations are now at 33%, up from 25%, and outdoor spaces can operate at a maximum of 75% capacity, up from 50%. Indoor recreation is permitted at 50% capacity, up from 25%, and outdoor capacity is up to 75%.
Bars and clubs can operate at 33% capacity inside and 75% outside. Houses of worship can also increase capacity from 50% to 75%. Lodging capacity, if NM Safe Certified, no longer has a cap, but if the lodging is not NM Safe Certified, there is a cap of 50% occupancy.
Mass gathering limits have increased substantially from 20 people to 150 people, and increased from an allotted 120 cars to 200.
The update also said that during this cycle, no counties remained in the Red Level.
San Juan County Commission Chairman John Beckstead congratulated residents for achieving the Turquoise Level of operation.
“Months of COVID Safe Practices have paid off,” Beckstead said. “It wasn’t easy, but we are rewarded with a measure of normalcy and businesses being allowed to operate at the maximum level under current regulations.”
Not only has the county been under the threshold for four consecutive weeks, but the numbers are declining to show less infection in the county.
“This also means that we are protecting our neighbors and ourselves from the spread of the coronavirus,” Beckstead said. “This is a moment to celebrate, however, we need to continue to be vigilant as we think about larger events that were canceled last year. Continued good practices and availability of vaccines will mean these events can happen again, hopefully soon.”