Following months of being closed due to out-of-state travel restrictions related to the pandemic, Visit Las Cruces, 336 N. Main, will reopen its visitors center and offices, Tuesday, Feb. 16. Upon reopening, the visitors center will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“After much planning and implementing of new safety and sanitation protocols, we’re excited to welcome back visitors to Las Cruces,” said Visit Las Cruces Executive Director Rochelle Miller-Hernandez. “Reopening our visitors center is important since it’s often the first interaction visitors have in our city and serves as a vital resource for directions and information.”
The reopening coincides with the New Mexico Governor’s latest executive order, that went into effect Thursday, Feb. 11, and stated that New Mexico will no longer require self-quarantine for visitors or New Mexicans arriving to the state. Previously, the state required a 14-day self-quarantine period or proof of a negative COVID-19 test for those coming into New Mexico from most other states. The Governor’s Office still advises visitors to self-quarantine and to take a COVID-19 test promptly upon entering the state.
Some of the new safety protocols the visitors center has implemented as part of the visitor center reopening include: ongoing temperature checks and screening questions, hand sanitizer stations thought the building, plexiglass barriers, building-wide sanitization procedures, mandatory face coverings for everyone entering the building, disposable face coverings available for visitors, social distancing and handwashing policies, floor graphics to assist with social distancing, and ongoing staff safety and sanitization trainings.
The reopening also coincides with Doña Ana County, the county that Las Cruces is located in, showing notable improvements on key public health metrics, established by the State, which detail the spread of COVID-19, testing capacity, contact tracing and isolation capacity, and statewide health care system capacity.
New Mexico is currently ranked third among U.S. states in percent of residents who have received their first COVID-19 vaccination, sixth among U.S. states in percent of residents who have received their second COVID-19 vaccination, and fourth among U.S. states for vaccinations used, according to the Centers for Disease Control. New Mexico also ranks third in U.S. for testing per-capita and has the 15th lowest positivity rate among U.S. states, as of Wednesday, Feb. 10, according to the state officials.
The latest executive order also expanded maximum occupancy limits for indoor dining to 25 percent and outdoor dining to 75 percent, allowed establishments serving alcohol to close by 10 p.m. and expanded maximum occupancy limits for lodging facilities to 60 percent, for businesses which have the achieved completed NM Safe Certification program, and 25 percent for those which have not completed the program. The NM Safe certification program is a training program created by the New Mexico Society of Association Executive that offers industry-specific COVID-safety trainings for 15 different New Mexico industries, from restaurants and hotels, to museums and grocery stores.
Additionally, the order expanded maximum occupancy limits for retailers, golf courses, houses of worship, and other businesses, while also increasing the mass gathering limit to 10 people and 80 vehicles.
“As a community filled with small and family-owned businesses, we’re looking forward to sharing the warm welcome that visitors have come to expect when visiting Las Cruces,” Assistant City Manager Ikani Taumoepeau. “Tourism is a major economic driver for our community, so this reopening allows visitors to fully experience all of the great things that Las Cruces has to offer.”
In 2019, Las Cruces had more than 750,000 visitors who spent approximately $70 million in tourism-related expenses, according to data from the City of Las Cruces and the New Mexico Tourism Department. The data also showed that, on average, each visitor spent a total of $195 per day on tourism-related expenses such as lodging, food and beverage, retail, recreation, and transportation.