By Associated Press - Thursday, September 17, 2020

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico children can practice sports and develop skills while in small groups and residents will soon be able to camp at state parks under changes being made to the state’s public health order.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Thursday the updated order also permits visits to pumpkin patches and that her administration plans to issue guidance for corn mazes, haunted houses and the operators of other autumn activities as fall approaches.

The governor said the state is trending in the right direction but that more can be done to move the state to a level where schools can resume in-person learning and more businesses can reopen.



“We are not there yet, but that has to be the goal,” she said. “So the more we do as individuals, the more opportunity it is for all New Mexicans to have access to the critical required services and the businesses that they desire. New Mexico businesses deserve our effort and attention here and so do our kids.”

The updated health order will remain in effect through mid-October. It still mandates that people wear masks or face coverings in all public spaces and competitive contact sports remain off-limits.

Health officials have reported an additional 159 COVID-19 cases, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 27,199. The death toll now tops 836, with four additional deaths reported Thursday.

Seven cases liked to schools, including five among staff members in rural Roosevelt County which includes Portales, N.M.

The Public Education Department says there have been seven cases linked to schools in three counties.

Two teachers and three other staff members tested positive for COVID-19 after spending time in a school and a district office. A secretary at a school in the same county was reported to have tested positive the day before.

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