FAQ - Impact of COVID-19

Please refer to this FAQ for critical questions pertaining to COVID-19 and the impact on the New Mexico tourism industry.

Current Public Health Order & Executive Order on Out-of-State Travel

Are there any exceptions to the mandatory travel quarantine?

As of Sept. 4, 2020, individuals from states deemed low-risk by the New Mexico Department of Health are exempt from the mandatory travel quarantine. Those low-risk states are:


This list is updated every Wednesday.

This includes individuals who travel to New Mexico by car or airplane.

All states and territories not deemed low-risk are deemed high-risk.

What are the additional exemptions to the mandatory travel quarantine?

In addition, persons who are employed or contracted by an essential business traveling into the state to conduct business activities, persons employed by airlines, those performing public safety or public health functions, military personnel, federal employees, those employed by a federal agency or national defense contractor, emergency first responders, health care workers, those arriving in the state pursuant to a court order do not have to quarantine for 14 days or for the duration of their time in the state, whichever is shorter, though all should follow COVID-safe best practices: Wear a face-covering in public and keep physical distance from others and limit travel outside of the home or place of lodging to only the essentials.

What happened to the 72-hour exemption for a negative COVID-19 test result?

Previously, the executive order regarding the travel quarantine did permit that individuals traveling from high-risk states who were able to provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of their trip to New Mexico be exempt from the 14-day quarantine. However, due to the alarming spread of COVID-19, that exemption was removed in the amended Public Health Order that took effect October 16, 2020.

How are those low-risk states determined?

Any state with a positivity rate less than 5% and a case rate equal to or less than 80 per 1 million residents are deemed "low-risk." The state will reevaluate the list of low-risk and high-risk states on a weekly basis.

What does this mean for "high-risk" states?Individuals traveling to New Mexico by car or airplane from states deemed "high-risk" must continue to abide by New Mexico's mandatory travel quarantine. The additional exemptions to the travel quarantine still apply.

Will people who make overnight stops in New Mexico have to self-quarantine for 14 days?

No. The self-quarantine guidelines state that an individual must self-quarantine for 14 days or for the duration of their trip to New Mexico - whichever is shorter.

Are the borders closed in New Mexico?

No. The surrounding borders are not closed. State roads remain open. 

Will travelers with out of state plates be stopped by law enforcement or turned away at the borders?

No. Unless law enforcement has reason to believe you are breaking the law or not adhering to the health advisory, you will not be stopped or forced to leave the state.

What if I live in New Mexico and I want to travel out of state? Do I have to self-quarantine when I return?

The mandatory health advisory is very clear. If you cross over the borders of New Mexico, you must self-quarantine for 14 days when you return home. 

What if I take my family camping in a different state and we spend our time outdoors, away from other people, adhering to social distancing? Do we all have to self-quarantine when we return?

Yes. Even if you spend time outdoors, wearing masks and social distancing in another state, you must self-quarantine when you return to New Mexico for 14 days.

Do out of state visitors have to self-quarantine even if they own a home in New Mexico?

Yes. If visitors or part-time residents plan to stay in New Mexico longer than two weeks for any reason, you must self-quarantine for the first 14 days when coming in from another state.

If you are staying in New Mexico for fewer than two weeks, you also must self-quarantine for the duration of your stay or up to 14 days, whichever is shorter. (For example, if you plan to stay at a hotel for two nights before leaving the state, you must self-quarantine for the duration of your stay.)

Does that apply to people in RV’s as well?

Yes. Travelers must self-quarantine wherever they are staying. 

What if travelers are simply passing through New Mexico to get to another destination in a different state? 

This is not a time to shop for souvenirs, visit state parks or sightsee. Please recognize that if you are traveling amid a global pandemic you are bringing the risk of a highly contagious and lethal virus with you and taking it with you as you go. You must wear a face-covering if you are in public while in the state. Please limit your activities to only the essentials.

Business Operations

What is the current state of restrictions for businesses in New Mexico?

Beginning Dec. 2, 2020, New Mexico transitioned to a county-by-county framework that eases certain restrictions depending on key metrics pertaining to the spread of COVID-19 in each particular county. Counties are deemed red, yellow, or green - each designation carrying specific permissions and restrictions for business operations. The status for each county is updated on a 2-week basis. More information on the "red to green" framework is available here: https://cv.nmhealth.org/public-health-orders-and-executive-orders/red-to-green/

Does everyone in New Mexico have to wear a mask?

Yes. Individuals are required to wear a face covering or mask in public spaces except when eating, drinking, or unless otherwise advised by a health care provider.

To whom does the $100 fine for not wearing a mask apply?

The $100 fine for not wearing a mask can apply to any person in New Mexico not wearing a mask in public.

What should a business owner/employee do if someone refuses to adhere to the mask requirement while on the premises?

If an individual refuses to adhere to the mask requirement, a person can submit a complaint through this online form or by sending an email to covid.enforcement@state.nm.us

What is the status on New Mexico State Parks?

As of Dec. 3, all New Mexico State Parks are only open to New Mexico residents, and only open for day use.

What is the status of museums and historical sites?

All state-managed museums and historical sites are closed to the public. Museums with interactive exhibits remain closed. Museums without interactive exhibits are permitted to operate as an "other business" in accordance with the "red to green" framework where the museum is located.

When will the public health order be rescinded?

The emergency public health order was extended to December. The New Mexico Department of Health continues to monitor the pandemic and amends the public health order depending on key gating criteria.

Is NMTD closing Visitor Information Centers?

In order to help mitigate the impact of community spread of COVID-19, the New Mexico Tourism Department made the decision to temporarily close all state-owned visitor information centers until further notice.

How will this order be enforced?

The state is working with local governments to ensure residents, visitors and businesses are keeping each other safe. People may report non-compliance with the public health order here.

How long will this last?

The emergency public health order was extended to December 30.

Where can I learn more about what New Mexico is doing to respond to COVID-19 and what’s available to affected workers, businesses, students and more?

newmexico.gov is being updated constantly as the state responds to the COVID-19 outbreak and identifies more resources for affected families and workers. For health-specific information about COVID-19, visit cv.nmhealth.org. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and would like to be screened for a test, call 855-600-3453.


All questions about COVID-19 should be directed to the Department of Health.


Is the state adjusting is advertising and marketing strategy?

NMTD has suspended its national advertising campaign until further notice. Our plan is to launch the campaign when travel is more encouraged.

Will NMTD continue to market events?

All event promotion and partnerships are postponed until further notice.

NMTD Programs

What is the status of the Cooperative Marketing Grant Program?

In response to the continued risk of COVID-19, NMTD made the decision to pivot the FY21 CoOp Marketing Grant Program away from generating demand to instead focus on preparedness.

What is the status of the Clean & Beautiful Grant Program?

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the Department of Health's Emergency Public Health Order, the New Mexico Tourism Department extended the grant application window for FY21 to provide more flexibility for interested partners. NMTD is in the final stages of announcing the recipients of the Clean & Beautiful Grant for FY21.