- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 23, 2020

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico is under a state order for residents and travelers to wear masks in public places, but visitors to Santa Fe continue to stroll through downtown with uncovered faces.

City officials plan to post signs by this weekend encouraging the use of masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“I think we’re guilty of not properly advising people yet,” Randy Randall, executive director of the city’s convention and visitors bureau, told the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham spelled out the statewide rule in a May 15 public health order that said masks are required in public places, with exceptions for eating, drinking, exercising and medical requirements.

The Santa Fe City Council approved a measure earlier this month requiring everyone 15 and older to wear a mask in most public settings. Repeat offenders face a $50 fine for second and subsequent violations.

Visitors often wear masks or other face coverings in Santa Fe stores but are reportedly lax about keeping them on outside, even in crowded public places.

Downtown hotel and shop workers have attempted to spread the word about the rules, with many of their customers complying with requests.

“It’s going to get very interesting when you get the first guest who says, ‘I’m not wearing a mask,’” said Tom McCann, regional vice president of Heritage Hotels & Resorts, which owns several downtown properties. “We are hoping to get guidance from the state.”

State health officials on Tuesday reported an additional 147 cases, bringing the statewide total to nearly 10,840. That includes about 870 state and federal inmates being held at lockups around the state.

The death toll also increased by seven to 476.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

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