In light of the continued spread of COVID-19 and enhanced viral risk driven by vaccine hesitancy and resistance, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday signed an executive order requiring all state employees to either be fully vaccinated or otherwise submit to regular COVID-19 testing.
Under the order, state employees who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 shall be required to demonstrate a negative COVID-19 test at least once every two weeks.
State employees who are not fully vaccinated, under the order, must wear a facemask when indoors during the course and scope of their employment – with minor exceptions for eating and drinking. (Pursuant to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is recommended vaccinated individuals resume wearing facemasks indoors as well.)
Employees who do not comply may be subject to disciplinary action, including termination, in accordance with applicable law.
The order takes effect Monday, Aug. 2.
The governor’s action follows a similar requirement implemented by the state of California. President Joe Biden was reportedly scheduled to announce on Thursday a vaccinate-or-test policy for civilian federal workers, as well.
The governor is evaluating whether to mandate vaccinations as a condition of employment in certain high-risk settings under her executive authority.
“Right now, it’s very simple: Get a vaccine, or else you will be tested,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “There will be no quarter for this virus within state government offices. I will not tolerate any unnecessary risk within the workforce under my authority. And I strongly encourage other New Mexico government agencies and private sector employers to consider doing the same.
“I have absolutely zero appetite for another unnecessary surge of infections, hospitalizations and death,” the governor added. “This isn’t a debate. The vaccines are safe, and they work. Misinformation to the contrary will lead to illness and death – not to mention full hospitals and economic disruption.
“If you are eligible to be vaccinated and choosing not to, you are giving the virus an opportunity to mutate and spread. Please do not jeopardize anyone’s life, anyone’s livelihood or our state’s economic recovery. Get vaccinated.”
New Mexicans may schedule their vaccinations at VaccineNM.org.