COVID-19 UPDATES

MARCH 26, 2020 UPDATE

A cross-agency collaborative called the Economic Rapid Response Taskforce has been formed representing the Economic Development Department, Workforce Solutions and the Tourism Department who are working directly with the Office of the Governor.

The following announcement is from the Economic Rapid Response Taskforce and all information can also be found at: newmexico.gov in the “Jobs and Economy” section.

UNEMPLOYMENT: 

Unemployment Insurance Benefits Expanded for COVID-19

Eligibility for unemployment benefits extended to workers whose hours are reduced or who are laid off, including due to temporary business closures, because of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Under a previously announced emergency provision to the Unemployment Insurance (UI) rules, the work search requirement for affected workers has been waived for up to four weeks by the Department of Workforce Solutions. This allows employees at businesses that close temporarily to access benefits without having to search for a new position while they wait for their employers to restart operations.

Online by going to the New Mexico Workforce Connection Online System at www.jobs.state.nm.us. By phone at 1-877-664-6984

LOAN PROGRAMS:

Small Business Administration - Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) (Federal)

New Mexico is one of the first states to be approved for the SBA’s $50 billion disaster loan assistance program. Disaster loan assistance will be available for businesses in all 33 counties. Press release issued 3/17/20.

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance.

The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible (request for financial forms to make assessment of cash flow and asset). The interest rate is 2.75% for non-profits.

Long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years.

Website: SBA.gov/disaster. 1-800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov

Expected processing time: 2 - 3 weeks followed by 5 days for first disbursement

COVID-19 Business Loan Guarantee Program

The New Mexico Economic Development Department (NMEDD) has created a program to assist businesses seeking emergency loans or lines of credit to deal with negative economic impacts from COVID-19. NMEDD can guarantee a portion of a loan or line of credit up to 80% of principal or $50,000. Loan proceeds are flexible and can be used for (and not limited to) the following: working capital, inventory and payroll.

Lenders and borrowers can apply here. Or Download a PDF version of the application.

Contact: Johanna Nelson, Johanna.Nelson@state.nm.us or 505.469.6204.

LEDA Zero-Percent Interest Loans

Limited to expenditures for land, building and infrastructure

Can be used for lease abatement or mortgage assistance.

Company must be a qualified entity (manufacturer, non-retail service business with more than 50% of revenue generated out of state, or a retail business in a community of less than 15,000 in population).

All loans will be required to provide security equal to the amount of the loan.

Contact: Mark Roper, Mark.Roper@state.nm.us or 575.562.0327

MISCELLANEOUS:

Personal Income and Payroll Tax Extension

New Mexicans now have an extra 90 days to file and pay their 2019 personal income taxes in recognition of the economic hardships many are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Taxpayers will have until July 15 to file and pay any taxes due.

The deadline for 2019 corporate income taxes also will be extended until July 15. In addition, the state is extending deadlines for employers to remit withholding taxes.

For more information, please visit the Tax and Revenue Department’s fact sheet here.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Paid Family Leave (Federal)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act expands access to emergency paid sick leave to as many as 87 million U.S. workers, and extends paid family leave to ensure that workers can care for their children without sacrificing their paycheck. Many of these workers currently have no paid leave and are being forced to choose between their paycheck, their health, and the health of the people around them. This is a critical step toward protecting families’ financial security and mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.

Sick Leave: full-time employees are entitled to two weeks (80 hours) of fully paid time off (up to $511 per day) to self-quarantine, seek a diagnosis or preventive care, or receive treatment for COVID-19.

Family Leave: Eligible full-time employees and part-time employees are entitled to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to take care for their children in the event of a school closure or their child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19.

Eligibility:

Employees at companies with fewer than 500 employees

State and local government employees and certain federal government employees

Employees who work under a multi-employer collective agreement and whose employers pay into a multi-employer plan

Full fact sheet from House Appropriations here.

MARCH 26, 2020

UPDATED DISTRICT WORK PERIOD PACKET: Updated Materials on The Two Enacted Coronavirus Bills, Plus Resources for Constituents on Coronavirus

From the Office of Congressman Ben Ray Lujan

This updated packet includes updated materials on the provisions of the two bills that House Democrats have taken a leadership role in already getting written and enacted by Congress in response to the coronavirus pandemic: the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

The packet also includes useful resources for constituents from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding the coronavirus.

Finally, the packet includes suggestions for virtual events and social media suggestions for Member offices, including a Resource Kit, prepared by the Office of Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), on holding a Telephone Town Hall on the coronavirus.

Click here to review.

MARCH 25, 2020

Preserving personal protection equipment is goal of two new health orders

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday announced two public health orders that will protect New Mexico’s supply of the personal protective equipment health care workers need to stay safe during the COVID-19 crisis.

One order prohibits non-essential health services, defined as services that can be delayed for three months without undue risk to the patient’s health. Eliminating non-essential medical procedures will slow the use of personal protective gear. Read it here.

The second order prohibits health care providers and wholesale medical suppliers from selling or otherwise distributing personal protective equipment without prior approval from the New Mexico Department of Health. Read it here.

MARCH 24, 2020 UPDATE

A community update from Mayor Dan Barrone.

https://youtu.be/RN8ODVivIB8

MARCH 24, 2020

The state Supreme Court has ordered a temporary moratorium on evictions for inability to pay rent during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“New Mexicans are struggling financially as workplaces close because of the public health emergency,” said Chief Justice Judith K. Nakamura. “The Court’s order will provide temporary relief for families and individuals facing the possibly of losing their housing at a time when the governor and public health officials have ordered New Mexicans to remain at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Under the Court’s order, judges will stay the execution of writs of restitution that property owners can obtain and give to law enforcement to force the removal of a tenant.

If your landlord has filed a petition for a writ of restitution (an eviction or collection proceeding) against you for nonpayment of rent or any other reason you must participate in the hearing set by the judge.  If you want the court to stay your eviction for NONPAYMENT OF RENT, you will need to provide the judge with evidence of your current inability to pay your rent at the hearing on the petition.  

The hearing will be held by video or phone, unless the parties file a motion for an in-person hearing.  The summons you receive from the court will give you directions about how to participate in the hearing.

If you would like assistance with your eviction proceeding please contact:

  • Senior Citizens Law Office - (505) 265-2300
  • New Mexico Legal Aid - (505) 633-6694
  • United South Broadway - (505) 764-8867

The Supreme Court’s order is the latest restriction and precautionary measure imposed on operations of state courts to protect public safety and safeguard the health of New Mexicans. Other measures provide New Mexican additional time to pay fines and fees, require the use of audio and video teleconferencing for court proceedings that need to continue and allow self-represented litigants to submit case filings to local courts by email and fax to help them avoid courthouse visits.

For more information about COVID-19 updates and the courts, please visit the NM Courts website.

MARCH 23, 2020 UPDATE

Public Health Emergency Order Closing All Businesses and Non-Profit Entities Except for those Deemed Essential and Providing Additional Restrictions on Mass Gathering Due to COVID-19

Read entire Public Health Order.

MARCH 23, 2020

National Forests in NM To Close Developed Recreation Sites

Visitors Still Welcome for recreation opportunities that support social distancing. https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/carson/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD714957

The five national forests in New Mexico, including the Carson National Forest, will begin the orderly closure of developed recreation sites as early as Monday, March 23, to protect public health and safety and align with state and local measures already in place to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. Read More

MARCH 20, 2020

Check out a time lapse map of the expansion of the virus in the United States:
U.S. Spread of COVID-19 Map

Created to visually demonstrate to U.S. citizens the rapidly expanding nature of the COVID-19 virus so individuals and organizations will take to heart the warnings, precautions, and preventive measures requested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others in the medical and Public Health sectors

MARCH 19, 2020

As the country enters into a new era with the COVID-19, another door opens for scammers who are willing to take advantage of you and your pocketbook. The scams are rampant with more on the way as people, institutions and governments become more economically disadvantaged.

The easiest vehicle for scammers is through email and the internet, though some are coming through text messages. The distribution method will continue to grow, most likely expanding into social media and other marketing sites. Everyone needs to take a moment and examine all electronic correspondences to verify they are legitimate and appear to be authentic. Take the time to look at the sender’s information and the source. When unsure, don’t respond even if it appears to be someone you think you may know. Choose another avenue to get in touch with those contacting you and don’t respond or open the email you just received. 

Some of the more common scams you may see are as follows:

  1. CDC alerts. Cybercriminals send phishing emails designed to look like they are from the U.S. Center for Disease Control. The email might falsely claim to link to a list of coronavirus cases in your area. “You are immediately advised to go through the cases above for safety hazard,” the text of one phishing email reads.
  1. Health advice emails. Phishers send out emails that offer purported medical advice to help protect you against the coronavirus. The emails might claim to be from medical experts near Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus outbreak began. “This little measure can save you,” the phishing email may say. “Use the link below to download Safety Measures.”
  1. Workplace policy emails. Cybercriminals may target employees’ email or home accounts. The phishing email begins something like this, “All, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Town of Taos is actively taking safety precautions by instituting a Communicable Disease Management Policy.” If you click on the fake company policy, you’ll download malicious software.
  1. Smart phone apps. Last week, a malicious Android app called CovidLock claimed to help users chart the spread of the virus. Instead, it led to a slew of Android phones being locked and held for ransom by hackers.
  1. Social media. Random Facebook groups offering supposed home cures for COVID-19, long Twitter threads from self-appointed health experts and cleverly designed websites -- there are dozens of ways misinformation can lure unsuspecting victims into a position of vulnerability. While it can be hard to sort the solid information from the scam-baiting, here are a couple of ways:
    1. By clicking the "about" section of a Facebook group, you can see whether that group has changed its name multiple times to reflect new national crises -- a sure sign that the group is trawling for an audience rather than promoting reliable news.
    2. Keep an eye on official sources on Twitter, including the accounts of trusted news sites and their news reporters, and avoiding political operatives where possible.
    3. If a site claims to be an official government publication, check the URL to see if it ends in “.gov.”

In general DO NOT click on any link(s) you are unfamiliar with as you don’t know what or where it may take you even if it looks legitimate. Disregard the email and seek an alternate avenue for the information you seek. Obtain COVID-19 information from trusted sights such as:

As always take safeguards to protect yourself and your critical information. It’s a big internet out there and someone wants your hard earned money or personal information. Don’t give them the opportunity to take it from you!

MARCH 18, 2020

State agencies encouraging take-out, delivery options at restaurants

During this difficult time for New Mexico restaurants and food establishments, the New Mexico Departments of Economic Development and Environment are encouraging New Mexicans to patronize local eateries by utilizing home and curbside delivery and take-out options as much as possible to minimize contact with others.

“Communities must step up for our local New Mexico businesses,” said Economic Development Department Cabinet Secretary Alicia Keyes. “New Mexicans can both help mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 and support these local businesses by choosing take-out over dining in.”
“The standing advice from experts is to avoid groups of people if possible,” said Environment Department Cabinet Secretary James Kenney. “By using delivery or takeout options, you are minimizing contact with others, a critical tool for preventing the spread of COVID-19.”

The departments also strongly encourage restaurants to actively promote their carry-out options and those that don’t currently offer carry-out options to consider doing so. The New Mexico Environment Department Food Program regulates restaurants and food establishments in the state, with the exception of those in Bernalillo County and Albuquerque.

The latest information about COVID-19 in New Mexico is available at https://www.newmexico.gov.

MARCH 17, 2020

On Friday, March 13, the Town of Taos passed a Resolution declaring a Health Emergency and activating its Emergency Management Team to deal with the COVID-19  / Novel Coronavirus.

Our goal is to protect the health of every employee, volunteer, visitor and all of our constituents. Toward that goal we are implementing a series of measures to create a safe workspace for each employee and the public and instituting policies and practices based on the best available health information that we think will keep us all safe. 

Based on the Resolution, the Town of Taos Pandemic Continuity of Operations Plan, Pandemic Action Plan, and 

Executive Order of the Governor and State Director of Health, the following actions have been taken that the public should be aware of:

  • All non-essential facilities of the Town that involve significant interaction with the public that we are unable to assure complete health safety will be closed. As of today, this includes: Taos Youth & Family Center, Taos Library, Taos Visitor Center and the Guadalupe Gym. 
  • Public access to Town Hall will be limited to the front lobby from 8 am to Noon and 1 pm to 4 pm, Monday through Friday. All business will be conducted through the Utility Billing counter. If you need to meet with staff, please call that department in advance and schedule an appointment. All public business will be conducted outside of Town Hall.
  • All business with the Town, where possible, will be conducted electronically. Please contact us by phone, email or on-line through our website. We will provide instructions on how to access forms or get your completed paperwork to us. Many forms, requests for records, accessing meetings, etc. can be done from our website at taosgov.com.
  • All Town public events, trainings and meetings and any events, trainings and meetings planned to be held in or on Town property are hereby cancelled until further notice. If your group has not been notified yet or you have questions, please contact our Special Events Department.
  • Town Council, Planning Commission, Historic Preservation Commission and all other Town public meetings for March are cancelled and will be rescheduled. Meetings will only be held when absolutely necessary and will be conducted as teleconferences conducted by staff with a public call-in and live real-time streaming capability for public participation. These will continue to be accessed from our website under the “Agendas” link on the front page of taosgov.com.
  • Our partners at Taos Air and Taos Ski Valley have closed operations for the year. Taos Air summer service has been cancelled for now. A NM State Health representative will be greeting all private and charter incoming flights from out-of-state.
  • The state has issued an Executive Order by the Governor and State Health Department that bans all gatherings of over 100 people. The Town will enforce this order.
  • Eateries and bars shall operate at no greater than 50% of their maximum occupancy and to reduce their hours to not later than 10 pm. Live entertainment for dancing or listening is, therefore, discouraged, regardless of audience size. Food establishments and bars are encouraged to adapt to serving carryout orders through pick-up and drive through windows. The Town’s Marketing, Code and Planning Departments will work with you to make that 
  • happen and to help get the word out.
  • Non-essential businesses are encouraged to weigh the economic hardship versus the health benefit of closing for at least the next 30 days. We will be contacting businesses in the next week with additional information.
  • The Town has activated its public safety Emergency Management Team to monitor the health crises and to recommend additional actions to protect public safety, assist local businesses and to maintain the local economy and the Mayor and Town Manager have been given the authority to be able to rapidly respond to the crises by implementing recommendations of the Team and such measures as are deemed necessary to maintain the health, welfare and safety of the public during this crises, including relaxing codes and regulations to assist local businesses and to provide public assistance.

Avoid social gatherings.
Wash your hands frequently.
Avoid non-essential travel.
Stay home.
We are all in this together!

MARCH 16, 2020

On Friday, March 13, 2020, Town Council passed Resolution 2010, “Declaration of Health Emergency for the Town of Taos” that is consistent with the World Health Organization, the Federal Government, and the Governor of the State of New Mexico. Please click here to view Resolution 20-10 in its entirety. 

The Declaration authorized the following:

  • The Mayor and Town Manager to conduct emergency measures.
  • The Town Emergency Management Team was activated to update the Town of Taos Pandemic Continuity of Operations Plan and the recommended COVID-19 Action Plan.
  • All Town public events, trainings and meetings of the Town or planned to be held on Town property or in Town facilities are hereby cancelled until further notice, with the status to be reviewed every 30 days.
  • That all out-of-state travel or trainings for Town business are hereby cancelled, with the status of this prohibition to be reviewed every 30 days.
  • That all non-essential facilities of the Town that involve significant interaction with the public will be closed to be reviewed every 30 days.  At this time the Youth & Family Center, the Town Library, Visitor Center and the Guadalupe Gym are closed.
  • The Finance Director will establish an emergency account in the amount of $900,000.
  • The Town will apply for any and all available Federal and State emergency funding.

In addition, access to offices in Town Hall is now restricted. All services should be accessed by phone and email or an appointment made in advance. All services may still be accessed through the front desk in the Lobby, just inside the entrance. This area is closed daily from noon to 1pm and closes at 4pm.

COVID-19 / NOVEL CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES

CORONAVIRUS HEALTH HOTLINE
1-855-600-3453
For HEALTH related questions.

CORONAVIRUS INFO HOTLINE
1-833-551-0518
For questions relating to school closures, job issues, etc.

NMDOH / New Mexico Department of Health Coronavirus Micorsite
cv.nmhealth.org
Public resource for all things COVID-19.

CDC / Center for Disease Control and Prevention
coronavirus.gov

WHO/ World Health Organization
who.int/emergencies