NMRA Daily 3 p.m. Restaurant Industry Conference Calls

We will be holding COVID-19 information conference calls for the New Mexico restaurant industry daily at 3 p.m. We will have special guest speakers and provide the latest updates as well as answer questions.

Restaurant Compliance With COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Orders

The following restrictions are placed on all New Mexico food establishments under the March 19 and March 23, 2020 Public Health Emergency Orders issued by New Mexico Department of Health Cabinet Secretary to limit the spread of COVID-19:

1. All restaurants, bars, breweries, eateries, and other food service establishments are limited to providing take-out service and home delivery only.

2. Indoor and outdoor customer dining is prohibited.

3. Customers may enter a food establishment to pick up their food. Restaurants should limit the number of customers inside the premises to no more than 5 and encourage social distancing of at least 6 feet between each person.

4. Restaurants located within shopping malls with a separate exterior entrance may stay open (and must meet requirements of 1-3 above). Restaurants located inside shopping malls without exterior access must close.

5. The number of employees in restaurants is not limited.
View & Download Memo Here


April 2, 2020 – PPP Aplication Process
The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses.

Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.
  • For a top-line overview of the program CLICK HERE
  • If you’re a lender, more information can be found HERE
  • The application for borrowers can be found HERE 

March 30, 2020 – COVID-19 Employee Rights Poster
Employers should prominently display this poster in an area where it can be viewed by employees.
Download Poster Here

March 27, 2020 – CARES Act Provisions

What’s in it for Restaurants?
The $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed in the Senate on Wednesday and is expected to pass in the House soon. This bill contains a number of provisions specific to restaurants, foodservice establishments, and our employees.

Some of the key provisions include:

SBA Loans
The measure creates a $349 billion program for the SBA to offer unique loans to small businesses (500 or fewer employees). The loan amount is based on 250% of the borrower’s average monthly payroll cost for the preceding year (provisions for seasonal employers are included), up to $10 million. Collateral requirements are waived, and the “credit elsewhere” requirements (which have slowed down the process) have been waived as well. The loan is forgiven if used for payroll costs, mortgage interest, or rent/utilities.

An exception was made to the small business requirement for restaurants and hotels. The 500-employee number is based on the number of employees at each physical location. So a restaurant with 600 employees over five restaurant properties would qualify for these loans. This ensures that a number of larger independent restaurants and franchise owners can participate.

Tax Benefits
The agreement offers restaurant owners relief in the form of Net Operating Loss (NOL) carrybacks, delay of payment of employer payroll taxes, and an Employee Retention Tax Credit.
Qualified Improvement Property
Restaurants can now immediately write off costs associated with improving facilities. The QIP fix is complete.

What’s in it for Individuals?
Among numerous provisions designed to help individuals impacted by the coronavirus, the CARES Act authorized one time stimulus payments for taxpayers that is expected to be distributed in the coming weeks.

Most adults are expected get $1,200, although some will receive less. Single adults with Social Security numbers who have an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less would get the full amount. Married couples with no children earning $150,000 or less would receive a total of $2,400. And someone filing as head of household would get the full payment if they earn $112,500 or less. For every child age 16 or under, and additional $500 will be added to the payment.
Read More Here

March 23, 2020 – The Governor of New Mexico has amended the Public Health Order to include a Stay-at-Home order. This means all businesses that are not explicitly outlined as essential should cease operations. Restaurants are deemed essential services and will be allowed to continue operating in a delivery and carry-out capacity. Also included in the order is a revision limiting the number of public gatherings to 5 individuals, this has been clarified to not include employees, but is only a limit on patrons. Read full PHO here.

March 18, 2020 – The state has seen its COVID-19 cases rise to 28, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said during an update on New Mexico’s response Wednesday, including one new case being investigated as a possible instance of “community spread.”

The pandemic led the governor to issue new orders, including:

  • Bars, breweries, restaurants will be limited to take out service and home delivery
  • Shopping malls, movie theaters, health clubs and spas are directed to close
  • Typical office environments should limit operations
  • Hotel and motels are to operate at no more than 50% capacity.

A Word from Our CEO

“It cannot be overstated that all restaurants regardless of the ethnic origin of its owners or cuisine are required to operate at the same high health standards required by the state of New Mexico. It is imperative to understand that while anxieties may be high, we should not target any one group, or operate in a climate of fear that is not based on facts. I ask the good people of New Mexico to continue to patronize restaurants across the state and show your support.” Carol Wight, CEO NMRA on current Coronavirus concerns. Read full statement on Coronavirus w/ NMRA CEO Carol Wight

COVID-19 Resource Links

The New Mexico Restaurant Association helps to ensure that its members and the industry have access to the latest information to strengthen operations and communicate with their employees to mitigate risk. To address the coronavirus (COVID-19), we have put together a robust online resource with industry-specific guidance for restaurant owners and operators.

NMRA COVID-19 Webinars

3/18/20 – What you need to know about COVID-19 and your Restaurant Download Slides


3/23/20 – Three Strategies for Businesses to Delay or Defer their Obligations During the Crisis


3/24/20 – Daily Conference Call w/ Q & A

3/25/20 – SBA John Garcia

3/27/20 – CARES Act Summary w/
Antonia Roybal-Mack – Download Summary


3/30/20 – NMRA COVID-19 Q&A

3/31/20 – Q&A Forum on CARES Act

4/1/20 – PPP w/ CPA Brad Beasley


Does the 10 person limit apply to only customers, or are staff to be counted in the total?
A: According to recent communications with Secretary Kunkle, it is advised that no more than 10 patrons should be inside your restaurant at any time.

Will employers be notified if an employee has tested positive for coronavirus? Despite HIPPA I feel it is a public health concern especially where a restaurant is concerned. What should an employer do if an employee calls in stating he/she may have coronavirus?

A: The information we have at this time is that the testing will increase over the upcoming weeks. This may result in employees testing positive. While it is unlikely that the medical providers will provide information about individuals who are tested, let alone tested positive, It is reasonable that an employer may require employee notification based on the public health issues and nature of the business. Clearly the food and service businesses are directly associated with public health through direct and indirect contact. Thus, requiring employees to stay home if they are ill, and to report that they are ill to the employer will be essential. The virus is said to manifest as a mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

In addition, recommendations are that employers notify their employees and any customers if it is determined that an employee has tested positive. Unfortunately, determining who is at risk and who would be notified will be a matter of judgment and dependent on the circumstances. It will be important to consider what information would be properly provided. It is recommended that any personal information about the infected individual should not be provided.

Information about what employees should do to minimize risk is crucial, as well. Fortunately, much of those recommendations are already part of the food and service industry – Good hygiene and responsible contact with others.

It is likely that additional information will continue to be received over the following days. Our primary sources include CDC and the World Health Organization. We will work to keep you updated with relevant information and will respond to questions as they arise.

Q: The order states that no standing patrons shall not be served. Does this mean that a patron standing at a counter to get take out (coffee, sandwich etc…) may not be served?

A: Only “to-go” or “pick-up” orders may occur at the counter.

Q:  Is this meant to state that patrons standing at a bar cannot be served for on premise dining or drink consumption?

A: Correct

Q:  Is any timeline as to when we might expect these restrictions to be lifted?

A: No. The restrictions will remain in effect until Governor/DOH amends or lifts the public health order.

Older News

March 25, 2020 – NMDWS Not Charging Employers for Unemployment Claims
Due to the increase in unemployment claims as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers have expressed a concern about how the Department will be charging for the benefits paid out. After review and guidance from the Department of Labor, NMDWS will not be charging employers for benefits paid out to claimants during this time.

Non-charging of employers for all qualified claims shall begin with claims filed as of March 16th or later until further notice. Nonchargeability only applies in the event that employers respond timely and adequately to all correspondence and communications from the Department. Employers that fail to timely or adequately respond remain potentially liable in accordance with NMAC 1 l.3.300.308(C).

Waiver of the charges for new claims related to COVID-19 separations will apply to both reimbursable and contributory employers.

March 23, 2020 – 
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to all New Mexico small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza announced today. Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela

March 20, 2020 – The New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department (TRD) has announced that New Mexico taxpayers qualify for extended return and payment deadlines due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic (emergency declaration) by the Federal Government and the COVID-19 statewide public health emergency declaration (Executive Order 2020-004) by the Governor of New Mexico Michelle Lujan Grisham. The extensions affect personal income tax, corporate income tax, and withholding tax.
Read More Here

March 19, 2020 –
NMRA will be holding COVID-19 information conference calls for the New Mexico restaurant industry daily at 4 p.m. We will provide the latests updates as well as answer question. Make sure to join us here: https://zoom.us/j/174060107

March 18, 2020 – The Governor and state officials will be updating citizens today at 12:00 p.m./noon regarding the status of the Coronavirus.
The address will be broadcast live on Facebook at facebook.com/GovMLG.
The Legislative Council Service will livestream the update on its website, nmlegis.gov, under the “Webcast” tab.

March 17, 2020 – The state of New Mexico has qualified for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Assistance program to assist businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced today.

The SBA is offering low-interest federal disaster loans up to $2M for working capital to small businesses and non-profit organizations suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19.

There are two ways to learn more and begin a loan application:

March 17, 2020 –  The state of New Mexico this week began assisting workers whose hours are reduced or who are laid off because of the COVID-19 public health emergency with applications for unemployment insurance benefits. 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.There are two ways to file an initial claim:

  • 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. The online system is available to take initial claims and weekly certifications 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • ​By phone at 1-877-664-6984. The UI Operations Center is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

March 15, 2020 –  Beginning 9 a.m., Monday, March 16, the amended public health order directs that all restaurants, bars, breweries, eateries and other food establishments shall operate at no greater than 50 percent of maximum occupancy and no greater than 50 percent of seating capacity. In addition, tables and booths may not seat more than six people, and all occupied tables and booths must be separated by at least six feet. Patrons may not be seated at bars, and standing patrons will not be served. Read more here.

March 12, 2020 – The New Mexico Tourism Department will be hosting a webinar on Friday, March 13, at 3:00 pm (MT) to provide a status update and to address critical questions and concerns regarding the Public Health Emergency in response to COVID-19. Click HERE to Register.

March 12, 2020 – New Mexico Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel has announced a temporary ban on public gatherings of 100 people or more, as the state’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus have rapidly intensified.

The ban, which took effect immediately, will apply to stadiums, arenas, conference centers and theaters.

However, airports, public transportation and shopping malls are exempt from the order. It also will not apply to weddings, funerals, restaurants, bars, hospitals and schools — at least for now. Read the Full Gathering Ban Here.

March 11, 2020 – Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a Public Health Emergency for the state of New Mexico in response to the first presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico. Read full Emergency Declaration Here.