Eddy County residents went “Green” on March 24, which happened due to us having COVID-19 case incident rate of no greater than 8 cases per 100,000 people and a positivity rate of below 5% over the previous two weeks. This was another excellent step forward, which meant everyone can re-open at a greater capacity.
According to the New Mexico Department of Health, our cases per 100,000 was a 7.2 and our positivity rate is 2.13%. The new gating criteria comes out every two weeks – remaining Green for a second two week period would put Eddy County at the Turquoise Level. Of course, we need to continue to keep our numbers down to move forward.
Being Green means that the mass gathering limit is now 20 people. Restaurants can open at 50% of their maximum capacity for indoor dining and 75% for outdoor. Large entertainment venues and recreational facilities can open at 25% of their maximum capacity indoor and 50% outdoors.
We are again re-assessing all of our City of Carlsbad facilities and programs, with a focus of getting everything back to normal to the greatest extent possible. There will still be some COVID-19 restrictions in place, but our focus is on allowing our residents to utilize city services to the greatest extent possible.
While the decline in COVID-19 numbers has been good news, issues related to drilling on federal lands remains a great concern. On March 19, the Biden administration extended a portion its “temporary” executive order related to permits on public lands. Local Bureau of Land Management officials are still required to obtain approval from the Washington D.C. office before issuing approval.
This extension was issued despite bi-partisan criticism across New Mexico, and the fact that numerous organizations and individuals pointed out the potential safety issues caused by the delays in permit approvals. As we have said before, restricting drilling on federal land does not accomplish anything other than punishing states such as New Mexico who happen to have a lot of federal land. Texas will gain wealth at New Mexico’s expense.
Some Eddy County officials have been doing what they can to tell our story at the state level. Eddy County Commissioner Ernie Carlson and Community and Administrative Services Director Wesley Hooper have been traveling around the state presenting a county level and expenditure analysis showing how important Eddy County’s financial situation is to the entire state. They’ve already visited several cities and counties to point out that 70% of the state’s education comes from revenue generated in Eddy and Lea County. A ban on fracking or a prohibition against drilling on public lands would eliminate that funding. New Mexicans must continue to oppose these terrible policies.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway