New Mexico governor says holiday plans aren't worth the risk

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday made a last push to get people to stay home for the Thanksgiving holiday.

She tweeted a new video from the state health department showing family members eating dinner at their own homes while talking via video calls. She said it’s not too late to cancel in-person plans.

“This isn’t a normal year, and it isn’t a normal holiday season. We all wish it weren’t that way, but it is,” she tweeted. “I know it’s hard. We’re tired. We all want to see our families. But please understand it’s not worth the risk. We can replace Thanksgiving dinner. We cannot replace you.”

State health officials on Wednesday reported 1,873 additional confirmed cases, marking one of the lower daily counts seen in recent weeks. Overall, the statewide total for COVID-19 infections now tops 88,100 while the death toll stands at 1,451. That includes nearly 23 additional deaths reported Wednesday.

New Mexico recently implemented one of the strictest lockdowns in the country, attempting what the governor has described as a “reset” on the outbreak, with closures extending to all restaurants and many other businesses. Essential businesses such as grocery stores are still open but can have only a certain number of customers inside at a time — a restriction that has led to waiting lines at some stores.

The latest public health order will expire Monday, but the governor's office is not expecting any changes until then.

The state this week launched a new option for businesses in an attempt to avoid mandatory shutdowns when COVID-19 cases among workers reach certain levels. The business would be allowed to stay open if owners sign an agreement that calls for regular testing among employees and help with state contact tracing efforts.

The health department on Wednesday confirmed that Albertsons grocery stores are participating at all 34 locations in the state. Company officials said the agreement allows them to welcome back customers and workers to the stores that had been closed just in time for Thanksgiving.