What is the status of NMRA’s suit against the State regarding our request for the data used to justify the Governor’s closure order?

State District Judge Joshua Allison granted a motion to dismiss the complaint on August 14, 2020, ruling that it was premature to sue before the state had actually denied the request for records. NMRA has been granted permission to file a revised complaint within a week – a move that would allow the group to continue its legal push for the records.

The NMRA also has a lawsuit pending in the Supreme Court that will be heard on August 26 at 1:30.
This Albuquerque Journal editorial agrees that we need to see the data. An exerpt: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase have repeatedly said their decisions are based on scientific data. So it should be relatively simple to provide the data that led them to reinstitute the ban on indoor dining July 13. It’s puzzling the information has not been provided to date, considering the many weeks of pointed questions and harsh criticism from the public; the administration should welcome the opportunity to justify its actions and enlighten us all.

What exactly are restaurants doing to safely serve diners right now?

Restaurants are taking the health and safety of their employees and customers very seriously.  They are positioning tables six feet apart to maintain social distancing; they are utilizing additional sanitation measures, and many have installed plexiglass dividers at booths and registers to provide an added barrier. Servers are wearing masks and gloves and limiting items on the tables as well as the time served at a table.

I saw people posting photos with #LetUsServe, what does #LetUsServe mean?

The New Mexico Restaurant Association launched the #LetUsServe campaign as a peaceful way to protest the governor’s health order which closed indoor dining for a second time. Owners and employees gathered outside their restaurants to take a photo to ask the Governor to let restaurants continue to operate indoor dining at limited capacity.  Additionally, members of the public sent thousands of emails to the governor asking her to reconsider her decision. The protest did not include restaurants opening against the Governor’s orders.

Local news mentioned a restaurant lawsuit, are restaurants suing the governor?  Why?

The Association is a plaintiff in two lawsuits against the governor’s office.  The first lawsuit will argue that the governor was “arbitrary and capricious” with her decision to close restaurants.  Why were restaurants closed but hair salons and gyms and other higher risk industries allowed to stay open even though they are technically considered a higher risk? This case included a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) which was granted by the District Court but the Supreme Court immediately stayed the TRO and has not yet set a court date as of August 10, 2020.

The second lawsuit is regarding an Inspection of Public Record (IPRA) request for the data that the state uses to make decisions regarding closures.  The restaurant industry needs access to as much information possible regarding COVID-19 cases, contract tracing and industry closures. This is a District Court Case scheduled for August 14, 2020.

What do restaurants want right now?

NMRA is asking to have an open dialogue with the governor about restaurants surviving the COVID-19 health orders.  We want restaurants to be allowed to operate at 50% capacity indoors like 47 other states while continuing to implement COVID-safe practices to protect our employees and customers.

What can I do to help restaurants survive the Covid 19 shutdowns?
Please continue to patronize restaurants via take out/delivery/patio dining as your comfort level and ability allow.  Whether you are dining at home or on a patio, please make sure you are utilizing your courtesy, patience and your mask.  When picking up food from a restaurant for takeout, please make sure you wear your mask when in the presence of a server – even if they are bringing your food to your car for you to take home.  When dining on a patio or other outdoor space, please make sure that your plans and behaviors follow the PHO.  Make sure you wear your mask at all times unless you are seated and actively eating/drinking at your table – please be courtesy and wear your mask when your server takes your order/etc.  Please do not bring pets to patios that are not service animals.  Please do not arrive with large parties and expect to be seated together just because you arrived together.  Restaurants did not make these rules but if they are not followed, then restaurants risk additional shut downs and restrictions.
If you are able to, please donate to the Serving NM Fund.  This fund pays out directly to the restaurant industry workers being hit so hard by the Covid 19 closures.

I saw that restaurants make up 15.5% of all rapid response testing, what does that mean?


Rapid response testing is a snapshot of the total COVID testing picture. As of the end of July, there had been 1,166 businesses across the state that had taken part in rapid response testing. 119 of those were restaurants and in almost 98% of those tests conducted, only one employee tested positive and there was NO spread to colleagues. The total number testing positive was 127 workers, which is 1% of ALL positive COVID cases, so an extremely low number of restaurant workers have tested positive, and there is no evidence that anyone has contracted COVID from eating at a restaurant in New Mexico.

This chart shows the state data only applying to COVID positive Employees in businesses that were subject to the Rapid Response program.

1166 total positive employees are represented in this chart.



The actual data is reported in full in the graph (below).
20,000 COVID positives reported in NM
1,166 reported in businesses
127 reported in restaurants

*The states data does not show any spread to customers in restaurants. https://www.env.nm.gov/nmed-resources-for-covid-19/

Official Summary of Indoor Dining Restrictions by State

Updated on July 23, 2020

This document is a summary of the more extensive “Official Return to Work Guidelines for Foodservice Establishments.” For questions on this document, or to receive the latest version, please contact Angelo I. Amador, Executive Director of the Restaurant Law Center, at 202-492-5037 or via e-mail at aamador@restaurant.org.

Alabama – 50% indoor dining with restrictions* (1. Safer-at-home order expiration date due 7/31/2020, pg. 3. Reopening AL Guidance, pg. 21.)
Alaska – 25% indoor dining with restrictions* (1. Restaurant Reopening Guidance- Phase 3 and 4 Guidance, to begin on 5/22/20, pg. 1; 2. Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant, and Retailer Association Reopening Guidance, pg. 8.)
Arizona – 50% indoor dining
Arkansas – 66% capacity indoor dining
California – Indoor dining closed
Colorado – 50% indoor dining
Connecticut – 50% indoor dining
Delaware – 60% indoor dining
District of Columbia – 50% indoor dining
Florida – 50% indoor dining except for Miami- Dade and Broward counties (closed)
Georgia – 100% with restrictions*
Hawaii – 50% indoor dining (1. Official RTW Orders for Foodservice Establishments, 7/22/2020; pg. 24.)
Idaho – 100% with restrictions*
Illinois – 25% indoor dining
Indiana – 75% indoor dining (1. Official RTW Orders for Foodservice Establishments, 7/22/2020; pg. 30.)
Iowa – 100% with restrictions*
Kansas – 100% with restrictions*
Kentucky – 50% indoor dining (1. Official RTW for Foodservice Establishments, 7/22/2020; pg. 34.)
Louisiana – 50% indoor dining except for New Orleans/Orleans Parish counties at 25% (1. Phase 1 Guidelines, effective 5/15/2020, pg. 1; 2. Phase 2 Proclamation, effective 6/5/2020, pg. 3.)
Maine – 100% with restrictions*
Maryland – 50% indoor dining
Massachusetts – 100% with restrictions* (1. Phase 3 Step 1 Restaurant Guidance and Checklist, effective 7/6/2020; pg. 1.)
Michigan – 100% with restrictions*
Minnesota – 50% indoor dining
Mississippi – 50% indoor dining
Missouri – 25% indoor dining
Montana – 50% indoor dining (1. Official RTW for Foodservice Establishments, 7/22/2020; pg. 56.)
Nebraska – 100% indoor dining with restrictions*
Nevada – 50% indoor dining
New Hampshire – 100% indoor dining in Belknap, Coos, Cheshire, Sullivan, and Grafton counties; 50% indoor dining in Rockingham, Hillsborough, Merrimack and Strafford counties (1. Official RTW for Foodservice Establishments, 7/22/2020; pg. 62.)
New Jersey – Indoor dining closed
New Mexico – Indoor dining closed
New York – NYC indoor dining closed; 50% indoor dining with restrictions for the rest of the state
North Carolina – 50% indoor dining
North Dakota – 75% indoor dining
Ohio – 100% indoor dining with restrictions* (1. Official RTW for Foodservice Establishments, 7/22/2020: pg. 75; 2. Responsible Restart Ohio: pg. 1.)
Oklahoma – 100% open with restrictions*
Oregon – 50% indoor dining
Pennsylvania – 50% indoor dining
Rhode Island – 66% indoor dining
South Carolina – 50% indoor dining
South Dakota – Indoor dining closed (1. Official RTW for Foodservice Establishments, 7/22/2020: pg. 90.)
Tennessee – 100% indoor dining with restrictions*
Texas – 50% indoor dining
Utah – 50% indoor dining
Vermont – 50% indoor dining (1. Official RTW for Foodservice Establishments, 7/22/2020: pg. 96.)
Virginia – 50% indoor dining, 75% in phase 3 of reopening (1. Official RTW for Foodservice Establishments, 7/22/2020: pg. 97.)
Washington – 50% indoor dining, 75% in phase 3 of reopening (1. Official RTW for Foodservice Establishments, 7/22/2020: pg. 99.)
West Virginia – 50% indoor dining
Wisconsin – 100% with restrictions* (1. Wisconsin Restaurant Association Reopening Guidance: pg. 5; 2. Wisconsin Restaurant and Food Service Reopening Guidance: pg. 3.)
Wyoming – 100% indoor dining with restrictions*
*Restrictions are tables 6 feet apart, social distancing, masks, cleaning guidelines.