How To Be a Good Customer or Guest in Albuquerque During COVID-19

As Albuquerque begins to reopen, businesses are taking precautions against the spread of COVID-19. We know all these new rules and protocols can be a bit confusing, but having an idea of what to expect when you go out can ease a lot of potential uncertainties. This guide will help you to go out and support our local businesses safely and with confidence, as we all work together to keep our beloved local businesses open.

1. Wear a Mask (only take it off to take a bite of your green chile cheeseburger) 

The Governor of New Mexico has mandated that everyone in the state must wear a face mask when in public. Violators are subject to a $100 fine. 

At restaurants, masks are required to be worn when entering and exiting the establishment, in waiting areas, whenever you are not seated at your table eating or drinking, and when in restrooms.

2. Wash Your Hands Frequently (wash them like you just roasted and peeled green chile)

Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

3. Look for Signs and Other Communications

Be on the lookout for signs on doors and around the building, as well as social distancing markers that will indicate traffic flow and what is expected of you while you are in that space. If you make online bookings or reservations to visit a business, check your email before you visit to see if you received information with detailed guidelines about proper protocol. 

Woman wearing mask, reopening

4. Keep your Distance (stay a low rider’s width apart) 

The CDC recommends you stay 6 feet apart from anyone not in your immediate household to prevent the spread of the virus. When visiting businesses, follow and stand on markers that will help indicate proper distancing between you and other guests. When there aren't clear markers, try to keep as much distance as possible between you and other people. This includes keeping a safe distance from the staff.

5. Stay Home if you Feel Sick

If you are exhibiting any symptoms of illness, it is best to stay home. Monitor your health and avoid exposure to others as much as possible. You should also stay home if anyone in your household is feeling sick or has symptoms.

6. Be on Time (even in the land of mañana) 

To limit the amount of people in one space, as required by state mandate, many businesses are requiring reservations or selling timed tickets. Make sure you arrive at your designated time to avoid any conflicts and rescheduling issues. If you are not sure if the business you are visiting is requiring a reservation, we encourage you to call ahead of your arrival. 

7. Be Patient

COVID-19 has brought along new sets of rules and regulations for everyone to follow, including businesses and their staff. As we all learn to navigate the new ways of doing business, please be patient and respectful to employees. Also understand that things may be changing constantly as we receive new information about how the pandemic is affecting us. For this reason, expect that protocols may be different than the last time you visited a business.

8. Know That Dining Out Will Be Different

The experience of going out to eat at a restaurant has changed in recent months, but there are still plenty of ways to enjoy your favorite local dishes. Many of the new rules are mandated by the State of New Mexico and restaurants must obey the designated COVID-Safe Practices or risk being fined.

  • Outdoor dining at Albuquerque restaurants is permitted at 25% of maximum occupancy, but indoor dining remains prohibited. Reservations may be required to help keep capacity limits and enable contact tracing, should there be a need.
  • Respect the seating arrangement set up by the restaurant. Do not move tables closer together, as these arrangements are created for your safety to enforce social distancing rules and allow space for your server to work.
  • Try to place your entire party’s order all at once. This limits the time your server spends at your table risking more exposure. 
  • Some restaurants may require limits on the amount of time you can stay at your table. This is to give them a chance to clean and disinfect the area after you leave and welcome other patrons who also have made reservations.

Sawmill Market

Image Source: Facebook

9. Tip Generously, if Possible

Even with reopening, many businesses are struggling to keep their doors open. They lost a lot of business during the stay-at-home order, and current capacity limits may mean they are still having trouble. Also, many of their workers lost their jobs for a few months leading up to reopening. And now staff may have reduced hours and serve less customers each day. If you are able, consider tipping a little more than usual. Every little bit helps.

10. Expect Temperature Checks (make sure the hot air balloons are sky-high, not your temperature)

Performing temperature checks is not required by all businesses, but doing so may help them feel confident about allowing visitors into their building. If a temperature check is asked of you before entering, remember this is just a protocol to enforce the safety for all guests and staff.

11. Be Compassionate

This has been a difficult time for everyone. And as we learn to navigate it, please remember that we don't know the struggles everyone around us has been dealing with in regard to this pandemic. It is important that we respect each other and have compassion so that we can all get through this together.