Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima today signed an emergency proclamation requiring the use of face coverings in all City of Las Cruces buildings and facilities. The term of the proclamation is 72 hours and City Council can vote to extend it up to 14 days.
Face covering means a covering made of cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material, without holes, that covers the nose and mouth and surrounding areas of the lower face. A face covering may be factory-made, or may be handmade and improvised from ordinary household materials.
The emergency proclamation allows for increased public education of the importance of face coverings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and will provide the City more enforcement control on the local level. Violations would constitute a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or 90 days in jail. The City prefers voluntary compliance over enforcement and does not want the effort to be punitive.
The mayor issued the proclamation on the heels of a new state mandate requiring all New Mexicans to wear a mask or face-covering in public settings beginning May 16.
Both the mayor’s emergency proclamation and the state mandate impact in-person early voting at City Hall, 700 N. Main St. beginning Saturday, May 16. Face masks will be available to voters.
In-person early voting runs through Saturday, May 30. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. There is no voting Sunday and Monday.
Voting at City Hall will take place in the lobby just outside City Council Chambers and the City Clerk’s office. There will be five voting stations spaced six-feet apart. Hand sanitizers will be on site. Poll workers will wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and plexiglass separators will be used to provide a safety barrier between voters and poll workers. Disposable wooden sticks will be used in place of a stylus for signing ballots and all pens will be sanitized after each use.
On March 27, city council approved an emergency declaration ordinance that provides the mayor and mayor pro tem the authority to take immediate action for the protection of life and property, and for the preservation of public peace, safety, health, welfare, and for the continuity of efficient government operations.
The ordinance allows the council to authorize limited action in response to an emergency situation and to exercise their emergency powers through a proclamation. The term of the proclamation is three days but can be extended for up 14 days at a time.
On April 7, the mayor issued an emergency proclamation so that the City may have the potential to receive reimbursement for funding and programs from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) based on qualified expenses as federal assistance is ordered.
On April 10, city council extended the term of the emergency proclamation by 14 days. That order expired on April 24.
City of Las Cruces news releases are available on the home page of the City website at las-cruces.org under News & Announcements and can be translated into Spanish and multiple other languages using the Select Language feature on the lower right side of the page.