UPDATED: NOVEMBER 24, 2020
Attention Tribal Members
REMEMBER: CALL LAW ENFORCEMENT IF YOU SEE SOMETHING OR SOMEONE SUSPICIOUS ON THE RESERVATION.
The number to Mescalero BIA Dispatch is 464-4479. Help Law Enforcement by reporting ASAP if you see something. There is little for officers to do when reporting is after the fact.
Again, call BIA dispatch at 464-4479 for ANY suspicious activity or person(s).
Everyone please stay safe and practice social distancing.
EOC (Emergency Operation Center) NOW ACTIVE
NEW update! Click here to view.
This page is dedicated to providing you and your family with the latest Tribal information as it pertains to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Here, you will find current:
Important information for Tribal Employees about stimulus payment here!
HEAT DURING COVID-19
Extreme weather is on the rise in Mescalero and surrounding areas, click here to know more about heat related issues some individuals may experience and how to protect them and yourself.
Also, if you click here, you’ll know how to protect yourself and your love ones from the heat if they are vulnerable.
If you need hand sanitizer, surgical masks and/or cloth masks, please come by the Tribal Offices and see our Tribal Security. He will gladly help you with those items from 830am – 2pm Mon. & Thurs.
List of Tribal departments providing essential services during COVID-19 pandemic here.
Information on Mental Health Services During COVID-19 here.
We are accepting donations!Find out more.
Items can be dropped off at the Administration side door, located at the Tribal Offices. Since the offices are closed to the public, someone will walk in the items for you.
IF monetary donation
Make check payable to: Mescalero Apache Tribe
Mail to: P.O. Box 227, Mescalero, NM 88340
Note: “Coronavirus Relief Donation”
**REMINDER: Emergency Manager and Chief Conservation Officer, Tyner Cervantes recommends waiting for the Official Press Release on any Positive COVID-19 cases from the Governor’s Office or the New Mexico Department of Health only. Any other news reporting outlet may not have the correct information and could cause unnecessary panic within the community.**
Mescalero Apache Tribe announces second corona virus deathFind out more!
August 18, 2020. Earlier today, the Mescalero Apache Tribe announced the death of a Reservation resident, an elderly woman, from the corona virus (COVID-19). Tribal President Gabe Aguilar stated, “We are a small community and every death hurts. Our prayers are with the family.” The elderly woman who passed became sick several weeks ago and appeared to be on her way to a full recovery. President Aguilar commented, “She fought hard but in the end, she did not survive.”
This is the second death for the Tribe; the Tribe suffered its first coronavirus death, also an elderly woman, in late May. President Aguilar added, “We know the virus targets the elderly. The Tribe is doing everything we can to protect them and the community as a whole. And, we will keep working at it.” The Tribe has restricted access to the Reservation, mandated the use of facemasks in public and taken a number of other steps to curb the spread of COVID-19 on the Reservation.
The Tribe provides updates on its official website (www.mescaleroapachetribe.com) and Facebook page.
Executive Order 20-08Find out more!
Executive Order 20-07 and SummaryFind out more!
Summary of Executive Order 20-07
Tribal Member letter from President AguilarFind out more!
Mescalero Apache Tribe announces first Coronavirus deathFind out more!
May 26, 2020. This morning, the Mescalero Apache Tribe announced the first death of a Reservation resident, an elderly woman, from the coronavirus (COVID-19). Tribal President Gabe Aguilar stated: “The individual that passed was the second resident to test positive. She was tested just hours after our first case was confirmed. It has been only a few days since the virus came to the Reservation. This virus moves quickly and targets our elders.”
The Tribe is entering its second day of a fourteen-day lockdown. Tribal offices and businesses on the Reservation are closed. Tribal residents will be cited if they do not comply with the lockdown. “The Tribe is being strict for a reason,” President Aguilar commented. “The Tribe has worked hard over the last two months to avoid this. I am heartbroken. The family is heartbroken. But we must keep going. We must come together to stop the virus.”
The Tribe will provide updates on its official website (www.mescaleroapachetribe.com) and Facebook page.
Mescalero Apache Tribe announces second positive test for coronavirus on the reservationFind out more!
May 22, 2020. Last night, another Mescalero Apache Reservation resident tested positive for COVID-19. The resident is elderly and is hospitalized. This second positive case arose just hours after the Tribe’s first case.
“At this time, we need to come together as a community. Stay home. Wear a facemask. If you are contacted for testing, then please comply. If you may have been exposed, please contact Indian Health Service or the Tribe immediately,” Tribal President Gabe Aguilar stated. He added, “Our first case was discovered because the person came in on their own – they did the right thing. You need to as well. Think about your community.”
President Aguilar indicated that the Tribe will be issuing citations for violations of the Tribe’s coronavirus restrictions. President Aguilar commented, “We will be pushing for maximum penalties. We are taking this very seriously.”
The Tribe will provide updates on its official website (www.mescaleroapachetribe.com) and Facebook page.
Mescalero Apache Tribe announces first positive test for coronavirus on the reservationFind out more!
May 21, 2020. Earlier today, the Mescalero Apache Tribe was informed that a Reservation resident tested positive for COVID-19. The resident is not exhibiting symptoms and tested voluntarily. The resident will be quarantined and monitored closely.
President Gabe Aguilar asked Tribal members to stay calm: “We are doing everything we can to make sure that the individual that tested positive receives appropriate treatment and that the individual is isolated. There is no immediate threat to your safety. Please continue to follow the Tribe’s Executive Orders and health expert recommendations for social distancing, face masks, and hand washing.”
While most of Indian Country had been hit hard by the coronavirus, the Mescalero Apache Tribe was one of the only tribes in the country to have zero positive cases until today. The Tribe’s COVID-19 Response Unit has been meeting since mid-March to develop isolation plans and make other preparations. President Aguilar stated, “We were blessed to have gone so long with zero cases. I am proud of my community for stepping up. Because of your efforts to stay safe, we were able to prepare for this day.”
The Tribe will provide updates on its official website (www.mescaleroapachetribe.com) and Facebook page.
Mescalero receives $13.5 million in Coronavirus Relief FundingFind out more!
May 14, 2020. Recently, the Mescalero Apache Tribe received $13.5 million to address the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The funding was provided to Mescalero through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), passed by Congress on April 22nd. The CARES Act set aside $8 billion from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (“CRF”) for specifically for tribes. The U.S. Treasury Department released 60% of the CRF funding to tribes last week. The amount of funding received by each tribe was determined by population. “The Tribe is grateful for this money. We closed our casino to stop the spread of the coronavirus in our community and in neighboring communities. Now we have almost zero revenue coming in. We have to keep our community safe until this is over – the need for this money is huge,” stated Mescalero Apache Tribal President Gabe Aguilar.
Mescalero advocated for flexible rules for how the CRF funding could be used. But the Treasury Department issued strict guidelines governing the use of the funding. President Aguilar noted: “The Tribe has many needs and some of these needs result indirectly from COVID-19. These are legitimate needs, but this funding cannot be used.” He continued, “I know people will think that we can spend the money on anything we want – I want it to be clear that this money is restricted to COVID-19 needs”.
In line with these guidelines, yesterday, the Mescalero Apache Tribal Council, using its CRF funds, established an economic support program where each eligible Tribal member over the age of eighteen (18) can receive a $1,000 economic support payment. “This payment can be used to pay for food, electricity and other needs. Everyone is suffering the economic impacts of COVID-19. Please apply as soon as possible,” stated President Aguilar. Payments will be made by June 1, 2020.
The remaining 40% of the tribal funding in the CRF will be allocated depending on the outcome of a lawsuit filed by several tribes against the federal government. The lawsuit revolves around the issue of whether Alaskan Native Corporations are eligible to receive funding from the CRF or not. The Treasury Department has indicated that the remaining funding will be allocated according to factors like the number of individuals employed by and the annual revenue of each tribe. Mescalero opposes the possible distribution of monies from the CRF to ANCs and previously called for the resignation of the Department of Interior’s Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, Tara Sweeney, for her involvement in efforts to include ANCs.
**Copies of the application will also be available at the Tribal Offices. APPLICATION DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MAY 26, 2020 BY NOON.
Mescalero reservation roads closed to non-residentsFind out more!
April 6, 2020. Last week, Mescalero Apache Tribal President Gabe Aguilar issued Executive Order 20-02 effectively closing the Reservation to non-residents. This action comes after the Tribal President proclaimed a state of emergency at the request of the Mescalero Apache Tribal Council.
“We see what is happening in other tribal communities and across the State of New Mexico,” President Aguilar commented. He continued: “We know that people love to visit our beautiful Reservation. This is especially true during this time of year. But the Tribe must do everything it can to encourage people to stay home.”
Non-residents traveling on tribal or BIA-maintained roads, including Carrizo Canyon Road/BIA Route 4 (from the Reservation boundary line by Carrizo Lodge to Highway 70), will be stopped and escorted off the Reservation. In addition, fines and fees could be assessed. This closure does not apply to U.S. Highways 244 or 70.
Executive Order 20-02 remains in effect until further notice.
Related Tribal Information:
Lock your home and vehicles! If you see suspicious activity, report it to BIA Dispatch 575-464-4479. Burglaries are increasing around the community.
Parents: Keep your child(ren) at home with you or a responsible adult.
A reminder from Chief Vepley, Mescalero BIA
ATTENTION: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are turning to other paper products for sanitary needs. The Mescalero Utilities Department is asking that residents please refrain from flushing wipes, paper towels, disinfecting wipes and similar products down the toilet. These products are not flushable and are causing sewer clogs and backups.
PUBLIC NOTICES from Tribal Departments & Mescalero Agencies:
- Public Defender PUBLIC NOTICE (11-09-20)
- Gas Company PUBLIC NOTICE (11-06-20)
- Social Services PUBLIC NOTICE (11-09-20)
- Tribal Finance (Accounting) PUBLIC NOTICE (11-09-20)
- Tribal Maintenance PUBLIC NOTICE (11-09-20)
- Tribal Court PUBLIC NOTICE (11-09-20)
- VAWA memo (07-29-20)
- Gas Company NEW TEMP HOURS (07-28-20)
- Tribal Court NEW TEMP HOURS (07-28-20)
- Tribal Court PUBLIC NOTICE (06-23-20)
- Mescalero Education Department (06-23-20)
- Tribal Court Announcement (05-27-20)
- Accounting PUBLIC NOTICE (05-26-20)
- Mescalero VAWA PUBLIC NOTICE (05-26-20)
- Elderly Program (05-26-20)
- CHR PUBLIC NOTICE (03-27-20)
- Human Resources
- Child Support Enforcement Office
- Tribal Court PUBLIC NOTICE (03-19-20)
- BIA – Mescalero Agency NOTICE (03-24-20)
- Mescalero Conservation Department PUBLIC NOTICE (03-19-20)
- Fish Hatchery PUBLIC NOTICE (03-19-20)
Other Important Information:
- CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- WHO – World Health Organization
- First COVID-19 confirmed case in Lincoln County, NM
- Operations at Silver City, Ruidoso eateries endangering public health: https://www.env.nm.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/2020-05-22-Food-permits-suspended-.pdf
Mescalero IHS Information
Find out more!
Pharmacy will be extending their weekday medication pickup hours: Mon-Fri 8 A.M. now through 6:30 P.M. In order to ensure all your meds are processed before arrival, we ask that you call a day ahead of time to process refills. Thank you & stay safe!
Canopies at IHS
We have now installed a few covered parking spots for curbside medication pick-up, as well as a few covered spots for patients being seen in clinic. Please be aware that each canopy is meant to fit 2 cars. There is 1 canopy for an over-sized truck at the farthest shaded spot. Please be careful when pulling your car in, as our new painted parking lines have been realigned for the canopies.
Mescalero IHS COVID screening requests for asymptomatic patients:
Starting on Monday, June 22, MSU will provide “drive-through” testing for COVID at our back upstairs/north parking lot. These appointments will be SCHEDULED, as there will be 4 available appointments for 9 A.M., and 4 appointments for 9:15 A.M. These appointments will be available Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays (that are not federal holidays). Please call our nurse triage line via our main phone number, 464-4441, if you need to schedule an appointment to test for Covid-19.
Mescalero IHS is conducting COVID-19 testing!
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 8am – 4:30pm
*COVID testing on Wednesday’s are 1pm-4:30pm*
Mescalero Hospital will be going back to its former schedule of Wednesday morning closures. This will start on Wednesday, June 3.
There has been community concern about the recall of metformin. We would like to remind you that medication recalls involve specific numbered lots. This is important because the recalled metformin lots are NOT ones that we carry– our specific numbered lots of metformin have NOT been recalled. Please pass this on to anyone you know who is concerned about this. Thank you!
Dental Care at Mescalero IHSFind out more!
Mescalero IHS has offered PORCH VISITS and/or DRIVE THRU dental checks & fluoride for children due to family needs during online schooling. For more information, call dental at 464-3832.
CDC update as of 5/12: Learn to minimize your COVID risk if you are in a higher-risk group. This includes those with diabetes, asthma, lung disease, liver disease, kidney disease with dialysis, and more.Find out more!
Reminder from IHS Referral Dept.: Please call them directly at 464-3804 within 72 hours of any ER visit. Emergency rooms do not always notify us of your visit. Thank you!
Prenatal CareFind out more.
Referrals and Drop Offs at IHSFind out more.
- Call PRC ahead of time to verify your referral is ready for pick-up (if applicable).
- When you arrive, park at a spot marked “Curbside medication pick-up”.
- The front door attendant will notify our curbside runner when anyone arrives in a curbside medication parking spot.
- The runner will come to your car to provide your information to our referral department.
- The runner will then come back to your car w/ your printed referral (if applicable).
Curbside Medication at IHSFind out more.
- Please call pharmacy ahead of time at 575-464-3844 to order your medications. That way they can let you know if they are currently backlogged for medication wait time.
- When you arrive, park at a spot marked “Curbside medication pick-up”.
- The front door attendant will notify our curbside runner when anyone arrives in a curbside medication parking spot.
- The runner will come to your car w/ a form to privately verify your information w/ pharmacy.
- The runner then will come back to your car w/ your medication bag.
- You will be required to sign off that you checked your medication bag prior to leaving.
Learn how to use Cloth Face Coverings here.
Related Information from Mescalero IHS:
CDC: What You Can Do: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/what-you-can-do.html
How to cope with job stress: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/mental-health-non-healthcare.html
CDC recommendation for wearing gloves: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/gloves.html
State of New Mexico Information
New Mexico Corona Virus updates here.
Testing Locations in New Mexico here.
Albuquerque Area Southwest Tribal Epidemiology Center public health alerts here.
State of New Mexico Data page for COVID-19:
COVID Safe Practices for New Mexicans here.
Environment Department releases updated COVID-19 Watchlist
List includes New Mexico businesses with two or more rapid responses within the last 14 days
The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) has updated its daily COVID-19 Watchlist, which includes New Mexico places of employment that have had two or more rapid responses in the last 14 days. There are currently 65 establishments on the watchlist.
A rapid response is initiated when the state learns of a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace. NMED or the state agency initiating the rapid response will offer direction to organizations regarding testing, quarantining and isolating, disinfecting, and COVID-Safe Practices.
Today’s watch list contains a smaller number of facilities than the one published yesterday, as NMED identified some cases of duplicated data and other data quality issues. This week, the watchlist will only include organizations for which NMED conducts the rapid response which include grocery stores, restaurants, retail stores, gyms, salons, business offices and others. The Department will include other establishments on the watchlist beginning next week.
The Rapid Response COVID-19 Watchlist allows the public to make more informed decisions when patronizing establishments and also assists NMED’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau and other state and local regulatory agencies in evaluating whether organizations are complying with state public health orders and COVID-Safe Practices. State regulatory agencies may initiate compliance investigations and/or exercise enforcement in situations where these organizations fail to adhere to required practices.
Beginning Friday, October 23, certain places of employment that have four rapid responses within the last 14 days will be required to cease operations for two weeks to prevent further spread of COVID-19. These facilities will also be listed online. This closure requirement will apply to food and drink establishments, close-contact businesses as defined in the public health order, retail spaces, places of lodging and other places of business presenting an extreme public health risk as determined by the Department of Health.
The current Rapid Response COVID-19 Watchlist is listed below and posted here. For the latest information on COVID-19 in New Mexico, visit https://cv.nmhealth.org/.
View list here.
More testing, fewer closures: State launches proactive testing, contact tracing agreement for essential businesses
Businesses conducting 100% percent employee testing will not be considered for closureFind out more!
In an effort to increase proactive COVID-19 testing of New Mexico’s workforce and avoid additional temporary restrictions on essential businesses, the New Mexico Departments of Health and Environment have implemented a voluntary surveillance testing and contact tracing agreement to enable businesses to prevent mandatory 14-day closures triggered by state rapid responses to COVID-19 cases.
The agreement requires essential businesses to conduct regular COVID-19 testing among staff, as well as assist the Department of Health in contact tracing efforts. If positive cases are discovered as a result of this testing, the resulting rapid response will not count toward the mandatory 14-day closure requirement in the current public health order.
“We’re empowering businesses to stay open by contributing to critical public health efforts,” said Environment Department Cabinet Secretary James Kenney. “By incentivizing businesses to participate in a regular surveillance testing program, we are keeping New Mexicans safe, slowing the spread of COVID-19, and preventing additional closures of essential businesses.”
“Proactive testing is an essential tool in combating the spread of this virus,” said Department of Health Acting Secretary Billy Jimenez. “Partners in the private sector through these agreements will make a significant and positive impact in curbing COVID-19 in New Mexico.”
To participate in the program, a business must submit to both departments a plan that details surveillance testing and contact tracing efforts the establishment will undertake at a business location. A plan must be submitted for each business location.
The agreements not only allow essential businesses to avoid a 14-day mandatory closure, it also clears a path for businesses currently closed to be allowed to reopen before the 14-day period is over.
Rapid response data will still be counted toward inclusion on the Environment Department’s Rapid Response COVID-19 Watchlist and included in the daily rapid response data posted at https://www.env.nm.gov/rapid-response-data/.
New Mexico must reset
Department of Health announces ‘Red to Green’: COVID-19 testing surge across southern N.M.Find out more!
SANTA FE – – The state of New Mexico has partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to launch a dramatically expanded COVID-19 testing effort across southern New Mexico with the goal of driving down positivity rates to turn “red” counties to “green” and restore the economy of the region.
Beginning Thursday, Nov. 5, the Department of Health will establish 12 new testing sites across southern counties, where skyrocketing positivity rates indicate the virus is spreading rapidly.
“We are working around the clock to expand New Mexico’s testing capacity,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “Testing in New Mexico has been and will always be free. It must be accessible and easy. We’re always working on improving that. And together we will beat back this awful virus.”
“More testing does not lead to more cases,” said Lt. Gov. Howie Morales. “More testing helps us identify who is positive and ensure they are informed and are isolated before they spread the virus throughout the community. Testing is an important tool in helping us cut down the spread. I know Southern New Mexico wants to get back to work. Getting tested is an essential step in getting from ‘red’ to ‘green,’ and getting kids safely back in school and more workers safely back to work. The state of New Mexico is grateful to our federal partners for helping to coordinate this important effort in our fight against the virus.”
The following new testing sites will be operational as of Thursday, Nov. 5. Residents must pre-register for a test at www.doineedacovid19test.com.
Las Cruces: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.,New Mexico State University, at 3305 Williams Avenue (Parking Lot #100), Las Cruces, NM 88003
Clovis: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.,Clovis Community College Gymnasium, 417 Schepps Blvd, Clovis, NM
Hobbs: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Ralph Tasker Arena, 800 N Jefferson St, Hobbs, NM 88240
Carlsbad: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.,New Mexico State University – Carlsbad, 1500 University Dr, Carlsbad, NM
Portales: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.,Eastern NM University, Greyhound Stadium (Home Parking Lot), 1751 West University Drive, Portales, NM 88130
Socorro: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.,NM Tech, 801 Leroy Pl (Intersection of Leroy Pl and College Ave), Socorro, NM
Roswell: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.,Fifth Judicial District Courthouse, 400 N Virginia Ave, Roswell, NM
Ruidoso: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.,Fire Station 1, 541 Sudderth Dr., Ruidoso, NM
Sunland Park/Santa Teresa: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.,Sunland Park Casino, 1200 Futurity Dr, Sunland Park, NM
Hatch: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.,Hatch Community Center, 837 NM-187, Hatch, NM
Deming: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.,Valley Learning Center, 2300 E Pine St, Deming, NM 88030
Alamogordo: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.,Alamogordo Civic Center, 800 E 1st St, Alamogordo, NM
The state of New Mexico and its testing partners have processed more than 1.1 million tests since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visit cv.nmhealth.org for more information on testing sites, behavioral health resources and the state of New Mexico’s pandemic response.
Staying safe, reducing stress during COVID-19Find out more!
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state behavioral health officials on Tuesday highlighted resources to support New Mexicans during the ongoing health emergency.
“For many, the pandemic is a source of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty – but there is plenty we can do to take care of ourselves and our loved ones,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “And it’s essential that we take time for genuine self-care. That’s how we’ll find the calm and stability to weather this time – together.”
“Even when we’re quarantining, we’re still all in this together,” said New Mexico Behavioral Health Collaborative CEO Bryce Pittenger. “Please reach out to mental health providers, faith or community leaders, and other people you trust during this time. When we stay connected, we stay strong.”
Key tips include:
Healthy Daily Habits
- Limit your viewing of repetitive news media; consider setting one or two times during the day to check media, and then take a break for more positive thoughts and activities.
- Help children stay connected with friends through virtual means.
- View news on prevention and treatment efforts by visiting New Mexico’s COVID-19 webpage (cv.nmhealth.org) or the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov).
- Find time and space to talk about your fears and concerns with other adults.
- Exercise (in a COVID-safe manner).
- Read with children, help them write letters to family or friends they miss.
- Plan unstructured time to relax, talk, and play with family members.
Talk to Your Children About the Coronavirus
To make them feel safe
Having conversations with your children allows you to know what they understand and what they might not. It also helps them develop a deeper understanding of the situation through questions and open dialogue, so everyone can be on the same page.
To know the crisis’ impact on them
The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented and traumatic event that affects everyone – but it doesn’t affect us all the same way. It’s important to understand what your child is feeling and thinking.
To help them understand what is happening
Ask your children what they know, what they think, what they feel about the situation. If a child asks, “Are people dying?” say yes. Don’t lie, but remember to tell them that most people recover – and that very smart people are working on developing medicines (vaccines) that will keep us safe.
For more resources including tips for parents, behavioral health support, easy ways to explain COVID to children and young adults, and free tutoring for students K-12, visit PullTogether.org.
Self-care is not selfish, nor is it an emergency response plan to be activated when stress becomes overwhelming. Instead, healthy self-care can renew our spirits and help us become more resilient. Think of self-care as having three basic aspects:
The first step is to seek awareness. This requires us to slow down and focus inwardly to determine how we are feeling, what our stress level is, what types of thoughts are going through our minds, and whether our behaviors and actions are consistent with who we want to be.
The second step is to seek balance in all areas of life including work, personal and family life, rest, and leisure. We are more productive when we have had opportunities to rest and relax. Becoming aware of when we are losing balance gives us an opportunity to change.
The final step is connection. It involves building connections and supportive relationships with co-workers, friends, family, and community. One of the most powerful stress-reducers is social connection.
Reach Out for Help
If you need to talk, please reach out – call 1-855-NMCRISIS (662-7474). If you want to text with a peer support worker use the NMCONNECT app available on smartphones. And if you’re considering taking drastic steps, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (1-888-628-9454 para Español).
N.M. updates high-risk states under quarantine orderFind out more!
SANTA FE – The state of New Mexico, pursuant to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s executive order requiring quarantine for out-of-state visitors arriving from high-risk states, on Wednesday, Oct. 21, amended the list of states from which visitors and arriving residents must quarantine.
Per the executive order intended to protect New Mexicans by minimizing the risk of spread from out-of-state travel, Washington has been added to the list of high-risk states as of Oct. 21. A reminder: pursuant to the most recent executive order, the negative test quarantine exemption is no longer in effect. Any individual arriving in New Mexico from any high-risk state must quarantine for a period of 14 days or for the duration of their stay in the state, whichever is shorter, regardless of any negative COVID-19 test.
As of Oct. 21, the list of high-risk states is as follows: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
The state amends the list every Wednesday according to the state-by-state health conditions as defined in the executive order; the updated information is maintained on the cv.nmhealth.org homepage and is disseminated each week in English and Spanish to city and county officials who manage airports within the state. Information regarding traveling can also be found on the New Mexico Tourism Department’s website.
STATE QUARANTINE ORDER
High-risk states: Persons who have arrived in New Mexico from states with a 5% positivity rate or greater over a 7-day rolling average, or a positive test rate greater than 80 per 1 million residents, must physically separate from others in a residence or place of lodging for at least 14 days from the date of their entry into New Mexico or for the duration of their presence in the state, whichever is shorter.
Lower-risk states: Persons arriving from states with a 5% positivity rate or lower over a 7-day rolling average, or a positive test rate lower than 80 per 1 million residents, are not required to self-quarantine. Self-quarantine is still advised for persons arriving from these states, and persons arriving from these lower-risk states are advised to be tested for COVID-19 within 5 to 7 days of their arrival in the state.
Individuals who are quarantined upon arrival into the state from a high-risk state may leave the residence or place of lodging in which they are self-quarantining only for the purposes of medical care.
Self-quarantining individuals should not allow others into the residence or place of lodging in which they are quarantined except for those providing medical care, emergency response or other individuals designated by the Department of Health. Family or household members may visit a quarantined person, but those visitors must then self-quarantine themselves for a period of no less than 14 days.
Non-compliant individuals are subject to involuntary quarantine by the New Mexico Department of Health under the Public Health Emergency Response Act.
Gov. announces renewed public health regulations, reiterates that more will come if alarming rise of COVID-19 is not slowedFind out more!
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday announced the state of New Mexico will implement, and in some cases re-implement, several public health regulations later in the week to stem the alarming rise of COVID-19 illnesses statewide.
The governor also reiterated her stark warnings from recent weeks – as COVID-19 infections have spread rapidly throughout all regions of the state, including an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations – that New Mexico may in the near future be compelled to re-enact even more stringent public health controls to blunt the spread of the highly infectious and potentially lethal virus, which has already killed almost 1,000 New Mexicans.
“Without a vaccine, we have only a few tools against this awful, invisible enemy,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “We must wear our masks. We must avoid large groups of people. We must limit our travel outside of the home, particularly our time in enclosed indoor spaces. When we do these things, we can crush the virus, and we protect our families, our communities and our state from being overrun by illness. But the virus is booming in New Mexico right now. The increases we’ve seen here are some of the worst in the entire United States this fall. This kind of overwhelming and dramatic statewide spread signals one thing: Too many of us, succumbing to COVID fatigue, are no longer using those tools. We’re no longer taking those precautions. We are giving the virus too many opportunities to spread. And the enemy is taking advantage.
“When the community spread of the virus becomes uncontrollable – and we are fast approaching that point – our only option is to simply shut down those opportunities for the virus. We’ve made so much progress to sustain reopenings and our limited, safe in-person learning efforts – but that progress is rapidly disappearing. Rollbacks will mean more economic turmoil for so many workers and business owners in our state who have already suffered and sacrificed so much. But it is our only chance to prevent more devastating illness and to save lives. No one wants to come to that point. I detest the very thought of it. We have got to turn it around and fast. So I once again urge, with my whole heart, that New Mexicans in every corner of the state, city leaders, county leaders, business leaders, community leaders all take up the mantle of fighting this invisible enemy, of requiring and encouraging safe behavior, of asking more of ourselves to protect New Mexico. The crisis is not over. The virus is still with us. Let’s step it up, all together, once again.”
The state has missed its reopening gating criteria – a measure of the spread of the virus that signals whether additional day-to-day activity is safe and can be permitted – for several weeks. Absent an improvement in those data, the state of New Mexico will once again restrict indoor dining service and significantly roll back maximum occupancy allowances at other retail and dining establishments.
The state’s operative emergency public health order will expire Friday, Oct. 16; it will be extended, with amendments.
The governor and state health officials will, effective Friday, Oct. 16, append the following changes to the public health order and associated public health guidance documents:
TEMPORARY CLOSING TIME
Any food or drink establishment in New Mexico serving alcohol must close at 10:00 p.m. each night. The governor’s Economic Recovery Council, which has advised her administration on re-opening strategies to strengthen and sustain the state’s workforce and economy through this crisis, made the recommendation for this mandatory closing time.
“New Mexico hotels and restaurants and our hospitality employees have suffered more from COVID than any other sector,” said Allan Affeldt, hotel and restaurant owner and member of the Economic Recovery Council. “In spite of that, the overwhelming majority of hotels and restaurants are in support of the state’s COVID-Safe Practices and are doing our best to keep our guests and staff safe so our economy can recover faster. Unfortunately, there are some restaurants and bars that blatantly disregard public safety by operating late and in gross violation of safe practices and common sense. These business owners threaten the survival of all businesses in the state and the health of their customers and staff. These problems nearly all occur after hours, when some restaurants are simply acting as bars, where spread of the virus is not inhibited. Because of this, I and many of my fellow hotel and restaurant operators are in full support of a temporary limit on operating hours for late-night restaurants and bars. Together we can get all New Mexico businesses open sooner if we take these simple steps to help limit viral spread.”
Other states – including Kentucky, Ohio, South Carolina and Washington – have enacted similar closing times for places of business selling alcohol in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 in those establishments. The state, which issues liquor and restaurant licenses to food and drink establishments, will rigorously enforce this requirement.
Maximum occupancy restrictions will be reduced to 60 percent for places of lodging that have completed the N.M. Safe Certified training program and to 25 percent for places of lodging that have not completed the training program – a reduction of maximum occupancy from 75 percent and 50 percent, respectively.
The governor will amend her executive order that requires a period of mandatory self-quarantine for individuals arriving into New Mexico from out of state. Individuals arriving from “higher-risk states,” or those with a test positivity rate exceeding 5 percent and a test positivity rate higher than 80 per 100,000 residents, will no longer be exempt from the period of mandatory self-quarantine if they test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their arrival into New Mexico. All individuals arriving from those higher-risk states – a list of which is updated each Wednesday at cv.nmhealth.org/travel-recommendations – must self-quarantine for a period of no less than 14 days or for the duration of their stay in New Mexico, whichever is shorter.
Mass gatherings of more than 5 individuals are once again prohibited. Previously the state had allowed gatherings of more than 10 individuals. A “mass gathering” is defined as any public or private gathering, organized event, ceremony, parade, organized amateur contact sport, or other grouping that brings together individuals in an indoor or outdoor space.
The governor and state health officials are scheduled to discuss the extended public health order and other COVID-19 data in the state’s regular COVID-19 public update Thursday; additional details about that event will be disseminated later this week.
State of New Mexico encourages residents to ‘stay inside the triangle,’ limit daily activities outside the homeFind out more!
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state health officials this week once again reminded New Mexicans to limit their travel outside of the home in order to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
“Every time we leave the house, we take a risk, because the virus is out there, and it is an awful, invisible enemy,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “But if and when we must go out, we should think about how to minimize the number of places we visit, the things we do, the people we come into contact with. If we limit ourselves to three trips or places to go or things to do each day – or fewer! – we will ultimately reduce the opportunities for catching and spreading the virus. And it will make an enormous difference in our state’s overall health and well-being and permit us to get more students safely back in the classroom and more New Mexicans safely back to work.”
New Mexicans are encouraged to think about categorizing their limited daily travel outside the home into the following categories:
COVID-safe self-care options can include going for a solo walk or a run, walking the dog, visiting a park, taking a hike alone or with a small group — all while practicing social distancing from others and wearing a facemask.
The following public health restrictions and guidelines remain in place:
- Masks are required in all public settings in New Mexico for the benefit of public health.
- Gatherings of more than 10 are not permitted.
- A period of self-quarantine is mandatory for visitors and New Mexicans returning from out-of-state from most U.S. states.
“There’s a safer option and a less-safe option for everything we do outside of the home,” said Human Services Secretary David Scrase, M.D. “I hope all New Mexicans choose the safer option: Takeout or delivery instead of dining in, ordering online instead of browsing through the aisles of a store, visiting a family member or friend over the phone or the computer instead of spending time indoors and in person, going for a jog alone with a mask instead of hiking with a large group of friends. Of course, staying home in the first place is always the safest choice. If more of us make these choices, the safer decisions, we will see fewer illnesses in our state, and we will begin to once again turn the tide in our fight against this virus.”
SNAP benefitsFind out more!
Individuals seeking to apply for SNAP benefits may apply online through www.yes.state.nm.us or by phone at 1-800-283-4465.
The Human Services Department provides services and benefits to more than 1 million New Mexicans through several programs including: the Medicaid Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Child Support Program, and several Behavioral Health Services.
State amends guidance for small groups in exercise setting, outdoor activitiesFind out more!
An amended emergency public health order, which is in effect through mid-October, will permit youth sports conditioning and skills development, with no more than 10 individuals in any one group, in accordance with COVID-Safe Practices. Competitive contact play remains off-limits.
In addition, New Mexicans may overnight camp at most state parks in groups of no more than 10. That change will be effective Oct. 1.
Other changes include:
- Pick-your-own pumpkin patches will be permitted to operate in accordance with COVID-Safe Practices for agri-tourism businesses
- Ice skating rinks may operate for athletic training and practice by reservation only
- Swimming pools may open with no more than 10 individuals in a pool at any one time; previously swimming pools were permitted only to provide lane swimming.
The state’s full complement for COVID-Safe Practices for different industries and activities, compiled with the assistance of the Economic Recovery Council and industry leaders, is available here.
“We all want to keep making progress in combating the virus,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “New Mexicans have done incredible work. These changes are hopefully an opportunity for families and kids to safely enjoy more activities. But we’ve got to keep making the right decisions – keep wearing face coverings, keep avoiding large groups and contact with others – and avoid a false sense of security. The results are clear: A safer state, safer communities and fewer dangerous illnesses in New Mexico. We can keep up the great work, I am confident, and my goal will be to make additional moves in this direction this fall.”
New Mexico’s progress in slowing the incidence and spread of COVID-19 has continued, with the statewide 7-day rolling average of daily cases at 90 as of Sept. 15, well below the gating criteria target of 168. The statewide rate of spread, or r-effective, remains below 1, meaning the virus is spreading slower and not exponentially. Although the state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations remain significantly lower than earlier this summer, the southeast region made up the highest percentage of hospital admissions last week, according to the state Medical Advisory Team.
The state of New Mexico would like to remind residents that testing for COVID-19 is free and available to all at Department of Health offices and testing sites, many of which have expanded hours of availability. Information about those sites is available at cv.nmhealth.org.
The state also reminds New Mexicans that a complete count of state residents for the 2020 Census is essential to ensuring billions in federal funds — for education, food assistance, roadway infrastructure, health care and more – are provided for New Mexicans over the next decade. The Census is simple, secure and important – please visit my2020census.gov to complete the form or call 844-330-2020.
Department of Health announces COVID-19 testing now open to all workers in New MexicoFind out more!
For more information visit the Department of Health’s COVID-19 website, https://cv.nmhealth.org/ updated daily with the latest testing numbers, our testing location directory and the ability to track cases by zip code.
New Mexicans can continue to call the Department of Health’s coronavirus hotline at 855-600-3453 with health-related questions. For non-health-related questions or concerns call 833-551-0518 or visit newmexico.gov.
Retailers, businesses shall require employees to wear face coveringsFind out more!
SANTA FE— Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday urged business owners to begin preparing for the first phase of reopening New Mexico while the state continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Department of Health Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel has amended the state public health emergency order clarifying some of the steps businesses must take in order to operate.
- Beginning Wednesday, May 6, all large grocery and large retail spaces (those greater than 50,000 square feet in size) and all restaurants currently operating curbside and delivery service will be required to ensure that all employees have at least cloth face coverings.
- All employees must wear their face coverings in the workplace at all times when in the presence of others.
- Beginning Monday, May 11, all essential businesses of any size currently operating under the public health order must also comply with the face covering requirement.
- All employers are strongly encouraged to acquire the face coverings for all employees over the next week, in preparation for a potential Phase One reopening in mid-May. Otherwise they may not be able to operate in compliance with state requirements.
- Retailers will not be required to provide face coverings for customers but are encouraged to post signage strongly encouraging customers to wear their own masks. Retailers at their own discretion may require customers to wear masks.
The administration last week issued a set of COVID-safe practices for all employers and an additional set for all retailers (see attached). Other COVID-safe requirements and best practices specific to other industries are under development.
The governor last week extended her stay-at home order to May 15, with modifications allowing some limited, additional retail and recreational opportunities. Further reopening will depend on businesses and individuals doing their part to keep their neighbors safe in order to meet gating criteria.
“If New Mexicans don’t behave safely, we won’t be able to reopen more than we have. Every single one of us has to do their part,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham.
Auto insurers in New Mexico refund premiums due to driving less
Click here for more info.
Related State Information:
- Individuals Experiencing Financial Hardship, click here.
- Video: Homemade face coverings
- State to use emergency alert system for important communications
Current Virus updates from the CDC with guidelines and recommendations here.
Testing Information provided by CDC here.
Click here for CDC recommendations for Halloween!
CDC guidance on determining when someone is recovered: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/disposition-in-home-patients.html
Guidelines to follow from the CDC on how to clean and disinfect your home.Find out more!
- Coronaviruses on surfaces and objects naturally die within hours to days. Warmer temperatures and exposure to sunlight will reduce the time the virus survives on surfaces and objects.Normal routine cleaning with soap and water removes germs and dirt from surfaces. It lowers the risk of spreading COVID-19 infection.
- Disinfectants kill germs on surfaces. By killing germs on a surface after cleaning, you can further lower the risk of spreading infection. EPA-approved disinfectants are an important part of reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19. If disinfectants on this list are in short supply, alternative disinfectants can be used (for example, 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water, or 70% alcohol solutions).
- Store and use disinfectants in a responsible and appropriate manner according to the label. Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together–this can cause fumes that may be very dangerous to breathe in. Keep all disinfectants out of the reach of children.
- Do not overuse or stockpile disinfectants or other supplies. This can result in shortages of appropriate products for others to use in critical situations.
- Always wear gloves appropriate for the chemicals being used when you are cleaning and disinfecting. Additional personal protective equipment (PPE) may be needed based on setting and product. For more information, see CDC’s website on Cleaning and Disinfection for Community Facilities.
- Practice social distancing, wear facial coverings, and follow proper prevention hygiene, such as washing your hands frequently and using alcohol-based (at least 60% alcohol) hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
CDC recommends guidelines whenever running essential errands during stay at home order
Click here for more details!
National Indian Health Board
NIHB helps answer some of the most asked questions regarding testing in Indian country. Learn more about vulnerable populations, caring for elders, what the difference is between social distancing, isolation, and quarantine and much more. Read more here.
Related National Information:
- Families Living in Close Quarters with Extended Family: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/living-in-close-quarters.html
- Sharing the Facts: Stop the Spread of Rumors
- Prevent Getting Sick: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/index.html
- Public Health Recommendations for Community-Related Exposure: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/public-health-recommendations.html
- If you are Sick: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/
- Caring for Someone at Home: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/care-for-someone.html
- FBI warns parents, educators, caregivers and children about the dangers of being online
Tularosa High School registration for the 2020-2021 school yearFind out more!
Please look closely for registration dates and times:
- Monday August 3rd, 9:00 am to 11:30 am students with the last names beginning A through D.
- Monday August 3rd 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm students with the last names beginning E through H.
- Tuesday August 4th, 9:00 am to 11:30 am students with the last names beginning I through M.
- Tuesday August 4th, 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm students with the last names beginning N through R.
- Wednesday August 5th, 9:00 am to 11:30 am students with the last names beginning S through Z.
- Makeup registration will be held Wednesday August 5th, 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm.
If you have any questions, please call Tularosa High School.
Information provided by Ramona Collazo, [email protected]
Mescalero Apache Schools: Distance Learning During COVID-19
Find out more! We are preparing for graduation like we have done every year except it might not be May 14th. The date will be determined based on the COVID-19 guidelines and Tribal closure rules. We want our seniors to have this special day and will continue to work to make this happen. We are still working with Herff Jones to get graduation orders to each senior that did not receive it before the closure. Parents can call the Principal at 464-5033 if they need any individual information or Ms. Morales, Counselor at 464-5031. MS/HS Distance Learning Plan Middle school has put together packets that went out April 13th and 14th with the exception of a few teachers who are accessing students online or through phone calls. High School is doing the same. At risk students have packets, all other students are receiving information through Google Classroom, email or phone calls. In some cases, some students will have packets who do not have internet access. I will know more at the end of this week when teachers turn in their time as I have asked them to give me information regarding students who are working and those who are not. HS teachers are working to continue the dual credit courses assigned to students this semester. Elementary Plan Continuing Education Dates for distribution and pickup are April 13th, April 27th and May 11th. Technology MAS has applied for over $900,000. 00 to upgrade our school with the latest technology. Our plan is to be able to provide a computer to every student enrolled, provide internet access with hotspots and upgrade our existing servers. Once the money arrives, we will begin to roll out our plan as school is coming back to normal-this may take some time. Mr. Cervantes has worked this past week to provide every student with an email address through Outlook for those who already have internet and devices at home. Future Plan We will also begin to work on a plan to reopen school. It might entail having certain grade levels return on certain days of the week and then continue to work at home on their computers. Just like cities are planning how to reopen, Mescalero schools must plan this as well. Do we open all at once or slowly? That is the million-dollar question. MAS is keeping up on what other States/Tribes are doing to ensure the safety of everyone involved and will make an informed decision when the time comes. Information provided by Mary Ross, Superintendent
We are preparing for graduation like we have done every year except it might not be May 14th. The date will be determined based on the COVID-19 guidelines and Tribal closure rules. We want our seniors to have this special day and will continue to work to make this happen. We are still working with Herff Jones to get graduation orders to each senior that did not receive it before the closure. Parents can call the Principal at 464-5033 if they need any individual information or Ms. Morales, Counselor at 464-5031.
MS/HS Distance Learning Plan
Middle school has put together packets that went out April 13th and 14th with the exception of a few teachers who are accessing students online or through phone calls. High School is doing the same. At risk students have packets, all other students are receiving information through Google Classroom, email or phone calls. In some cases, some students will have packets who do not have internet access. I will know more at the end of this week when teachers turn in their time as I have asked them to give me information regarding students who are working and those who are not. HS teachers are working to continue the dual credit courses assigned to students this semester.
Elementary Plan Continuing Education
Dates for distribution and pickup are April 13th, April 27th and May 11th.
MAS has applied for over $900,000. 00 to upgrade our school with the latest technology. Our plan is to be able to provide a computer to every student enrolled, provide internet access with hotspots and upgrade our existing servers. Once the money arrives, we will begin to roll out our plan as school is coming back to normal-this may take some time.
Mr. Cervantes has worked this past week to provide every student with an email address through Outlook for those who already have internet and devices at home.
We will also begin to work on a plan to reopen school. It might entail having certain grade levels return on certain days of the week and then continue to work at home on their computers. Just like cities are planning how to reopen, Mescalero schools must plan this as well. Do we open all at once or slowly? That is the million-dollar question. MAS is keeping up on what other States/Tribes are doing to ensure the safety of everyone involved and will make an informed decision when the time comes.
Information provided by Mary Ross, Superintendent
Related Education Information:
- Sesame Street in Communities has an amazing website for both providers and parents of young children 0-5. Offering fun printable activities, videos, games and information for both parents and providers to support their children’s social emotional development and learning. www.sesamestreetincommunities.org
- Bright By Text, is a free texting service for parents providing tips, videos and local event information that supports parents in everyday moments. Text 274448 and the word PLAY
- PBSParents.org, a free and useful website from PBS that gives parents tips, resources, activities, videos and games for their children.www.pbsparents.org
- PBSKids Daily Newsletter for parents to support learning at home. Free and current with the latest news and updates. https://www.pbs.org/parents/pbskidsdaily
- For Native communities we have https://sites.google.com/view/vmm-pbs-media/home
Attention Tribal Employees
This section is for Tribal Employees who may not receive important information in a timely manner as it pertains to their department.
NMDWS applies for “Lost Wages Assistance” funds
(Albuquerque, NM) – Today, the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) submitted an application to the United States Federal Emergency Management Administration for funding that would provide an additional $300 per week payments to New Mexicans receiving Unemployment benefits. U.S. Department of Labor guidance allows for existing Unemployment Trust Fund payments delivered by NMDWS to count as 25% matching funds for the program.
“Politics don’t matter in a crisis; my focus and our state’s focus has been and will continue to be delivering resources to New Mexicans in need,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “I maintain that a Congressional aid package is needed to bolster unemployment funds for New Mexicans, but we will take every opportunity to help families and workers throughout this pandemic.”
“Governor Lujan Grisham is asking all of us to work together and find any resources to help New Mexicans through this tough time,” said Bill McCamley, Secretary of the New Mexico Workforce Solutions Department. “Though it is unclear at this time when funding will become available, or how much funding is available, the Department will work hard to distribute funds to New Mexicans as quickly as possible. Our friends and neighbors need resources to pay for rent, utilities, food, childcare, and many other services and we will get as much money as possible into their pockets.”
NMDWS looks forward to receiving a response from FEMA to begin planning and implementing the distribution of additional funds quickly to New Mexicans who need it. There is no need for claimants to contact NMDWS at this time. We will announce more information once it becomes available.
News release provided by NMDWS.
Work search waiver scheduled to end on July 18th
Find out more!
(Albuquerque, NM) – In March, the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) waived the work search requirements for Unemployment Insurance claimants who had lost their job or had hours reduced as a result of COVID-19. This waiver will end on July 18, 2020.
Claimants receiving benefits will be required to verify that at least two work searches occurred each week when submitting their certification. In upcoming weeks, NMDWS in coordination with New Mexico Workforce Connection offices, will be providing guidance, training, and workshop options to claimants that will satisfy the work search requirement for the week in which they attend.
Individuals receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – the self-employed, independent contractors, and gig economy workers – are not required by federal law to conduct work searches and will continue to receive a waiver. While the U.S. Department of Labor requires work searches for claimants receiving standard unemployment benefits, they have not instituted the same requirement for claimants on PUA.
In addition to the above change, NMDWS is advising all claimants that the last payable week for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), an additional benefit of $600 per week, will be the week ending July 25, 2020.
Statement from NMDWS Cabinet Secretary Bill McCamley on overpayment letters sent to PUA claimantsFind out more!
On behalf of the agency, I sincerely apologize that the notices caused concern and frustration at an already stressful time. To provide clarification on what claimants need to do next, we are sending out direct communication that provides guidance on how individuals can provide the Department with the information necessary to clear any pending issues or alleviate a hold on their claim. Although notices are necessary and required to avoid a misuse of taxpayer resources, where appropriate, we can supplement and/or replace them with clarifying information that helps claimants comply with all aspects of UI requirements.
Our work over the past several months has always been focused on getting New Mexicans the benefits and resources to which they are entitled as quickly as we can. But we can always do better and are committed to begin an examination of how we can communicate more clearly and effectively to New Mexicans in this troubling time.
Secretary, New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions
NMDWS receives grant for employment recovery for displaced workers
All CARES Act benefits are 100% federally fundedFind out more!
With funding received from the grant, NMDWS has identified several areas of focus:
- Addressing shortage of healthcare workers in the state. Allocating funds to be utilized in providing training for needed workers to respond to the health crisis, including direct care and public health response (ie, contact tracing, outreach);
- Partnership with the New Mexico Economic Development Department to provide customized training for businesses who plan to re-tool their operations, ie, manufacture PPE, sanitizing equipment/supplies, or training on deep cleaning techniques to meet demand statewide; and
- Partnership with the Bernalillo County Commissioners and the Central Workforce Development Board to address employment for non-violent offenders scheduled for early release due to COVID-19. A transitional jobs program will be initiated to promote successful transition into work, including case management, job readiness, soft skill development, and training.
“The proposed funds will support New Mexico businesses and job seekers as they innovate job site practices to promote healthy and productive workplaces, as well as target individuals who – with additional training and education – could bolster their earning potential,” said NMDWS Deputy Secretary Yolanda Montoya-Cordova.
13 weeks of extended Unemployment benefits now available
All CARES Act benefits are 100% federally fundedFind out more!
The additional weeks of benefits are provided by Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). Once a claimant’s benefit year ceases, they can then establish a new benefit year to requalify for regular unemployment.
PEUC is for individuals who have exhausted 26 weeks of regular Unemployment Insurance benefits; are able to work, available to work, and actively seeking work; or are partially unemployed.
Eligible individuals will receive the same amount of Unemployment Insurance benefits as the previous weeks they received. They will also receive Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), an additional $600 to their weekly benefits up until July 25, 2020 (Max. $1,061 in New Mexico).
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), FPUC, and PEUC benefits are 100% federally funded and employers will not be charged for any benefits paid under a CARES Act program.
There are two ways to file for PEUC:
- Online by going to the New Mexico Workforce Connection Online System at www.jobs.state.nm.us. Individuals can then access the UI Tax & Claims System.
- On the left navigation menu, individuals will click on “Apply for Federal Extension Benefits”
- By phone at 1-877-664-6984. The department will continue to operate under extended hours for the Unemployment Insurance Operations Center with the hours of 7am – 7pm Monday through Friday.
If an individual qualifies for benefits under regular state unemployment Insurance they will not be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
REMINDER: It is not necessary to call the Department to confirm that your claim has been filed or to check the status. If there are any unresolved issues impacting your claim or if we have questions, we will contact you.
Important note: None of the benefits described above, nor unemployment benefits of any kind, are available to employees who quit without good work-related cause, refuse to return to work, or refuse to receive full-time pay. Refusing to return to work could result in a disqualification for benefit eligibility. Attempts to collect unemployment benefits after quitting a job without good work-related cause is considered to be fraud. The CARES Act specifically provides for serious consequences for fraudulent cases including fines, confinement, and an inability to receive future unemployment benefits until all fraudulent claims and fines have been repaid. Employers are encouraged to utilize the New Hire system to report those employees who fail to return to work.
Additional information for workers affected by COVID-19, including frequently asked questions, can be found at www.dws.state.nm.us/COVID-19-Info. For the latest announcements and updates, follow NMDWS on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
New Guidance about COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Beneficiaries from Social Security Commissioner Andrew SaulFind out more!
People who receive Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability insurance benefits and who did not file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 and who have qualifying children under age 17 should now go to the IRS’s webpage at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments to enter their information instead of waiting for their automatic $1,200 Economic Impact Payment. By taking proactive steps to enter information on the IRS website about them and their qualifying children, they will also receive the $500 per dependent child payment in addition to their $1,200 individual payment. If Social Security beneficiaries in this group do not provide their information to the IRS soon, they will have to wait to receive their $500 per qualifying child.
The same new guidance also applies to SSI recipients, especially those who have qualifying children under age 17. To receive the full amount of the Economic Impact Payments you and your family are eligible for, go to the IRS’s Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info page at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments and provide information about yourself and your qualifying children.
Additionally, any new beneficiaries since January 1, 2020, of either Social Security or SSI benefits, who did not file a tax return for 2018 or 2019, will also need to go to the IRS’s Non-Filers website to enter their information.
Lastly, for Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability beneficiaries who do not have qualifying children under age 17, you do not need to take any action with the IRS. You will automatically receive your $1,200 economic impact payment directly from the IRS as long as you received an SSA-1099 for 2019.
For SSI recipients who do not have qualifying children under age 17, we continue to work closely with Treasury in our efforts to make these payments automatically. Please note that we will not consider Economic Impact Payments as income for SSI recipients, and the payments are excluded from resources for 12 months.
The eligibility requirements and other information about the Economic Impact Payments can be found here: www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center. In addition, please continue to visit the IRS at www.irs.gov/coronavirus for the latest information.
We will continue to update Social Security’s COVID-19 web page at www.socialsecurity.gov/coronavirus/ as further details become available.”
To get more Social Security news, follow the Press Office on Twitter @SSAPress
Related Employee Information: