UPDATE - Carlsbad judge signs order for restaurants

Supreme Court grants governor’s request for stay in indoor dining case


The state Supreme Court on Monday afternoon granted Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s emergency request to stay an order issued by a judge in Carlsbad earlier Monday that would have temporarily permitted indoor dining at restaurants in New Mexico despite the state’s emergency public health order and the emergent need to take all necessary action to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

As a result, all provisions of the state’s emergency public health order of July 13 remain in effect.

The action by the state Supreme Court effectively blocks the temporary restraining order issued earlier Monday by Judge Raymond L. Romero. The judge’s order temporarily restricted the Lujan Grisham administration from enforcing its emergency public health prohibition on indoor dining as a means of slowing the statewide spread of COVID-19. That earlier order is now stayed until further order of the Supreme Court.

The Lujan Grisham administration filed an emergency petition with the Supreme Court subsequent to the judge’s order. 

The state Supreme Court order granting the governor’s emergency request for a stay is attached to this news release. Also attached is the governor’s request.

“I am grateful for the court’s quick action,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “Businesses all across New Mexico have been battered by the effects of this pandemic; they are owed consistency and fairness, which my administration has endeavored to provide at every opportunity. We will continue to provide that while taking every single possible action to protect the health and well-being of New Mexicans -- including workers and customers at our restaurants. I appreciate the high court’s recognition of the importance of consistent application and enforcement and the opportunity to bolster our case that high-contact indoor environments where face-coverings cannot be worn present an untenable risk given the incredible danger of COVID-19 at the moment.”

Per state regulations to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect public health, restaurants in New Mexico are permitted to operate outdoor and patio dine-in services at 50 percent capacity in accordance with COVID-Safe Practices. Restaurants may also provide carryout and delivery services. Dine-in service in indoor seating areas is prohibited.

Las Cruces Outside Dining

The City of Las Cruces realizes that the Governor’s updated Public Health Order heavily impacts restaurants. The City of Las Cruces has received several inquiries from local restauranteurs asking about the requirements to establish outdoor dining for their customers. Please see below the guidelines for restaurants to receive a permit for temporary outdoor dining.


The Public Health Criteria:

  • Comply with the Public Health Order amendment issued on July 14, 2020.
  • Comply with COVID-Safe Practices for restaurants section (CSP)
  • Alcoholic Beverage Control application to be filed for floor plan changes. (outdoor)   
  • Tables are to be six feet apart
  • No more than six patrons per table
  • Outdoor Tent Occupancy limited to 50% of maximum occupancy limit

The Public Safety Criteria:

If your restaurant intends to create or expand outdoor dining area, and meets any of these criteria, you will need to apply for a permit to operate:

  • Outdoor Tents over 700 square feet in area
  • Construction plans required for new construction of a permanent outdoor dining space
  • Alterations to an existing structure, electrical or plumbing require trade permits 
  • ALL permitted outdoor dining spaces will be inspected by the Fire Department and/or trade inspectors prior to use.
  • It is required that outdoor dining areas do not impede emergency vehicle access to the property and do not impede right-of-way areas (fire lanes, openings to parking lots, ADA parking spaces, etc.)

Temporary use permits are issued for a maximum of 180 days. Temporary use permits for outdoor dining venues during the COVID-19 pandemic may be issued online for no fee.

The Community Development Department will process applications for Outdoor Dining Tent Permits.

For questions, please contact the Las Cruces Community Development Department by phone: 575-528-3059.