HOBBS, NM—NOVEMBER 13, 2020—New restricted COVID-19 restrictions announced today (Nov. 13) by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has forced "live racing" to be suspended at Zia Park through November 30.
The New Mexico restrictions close in-person activities at nonessential businesses, including horse racing, from Nov. 16-30.
The current Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred mixed-meet at Zia Park is scheduled to run through Dec. 23.
Residents of the state have been instructed to stay at home except for trips essential to health, safety, and welfare. According to reports the state will move to tiered reopening following the shutdown.
Zia Park later provided the following statement:
"Pursuant to restrictions put in place today by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Zia Park’s current live racing meet has been suspended through November 30.
"Effective Monday, November 16 all non-essential businesses, including horse racing, are required to cease in-person activities until the end of the month.
"The current Zia Park race meet is scheduled to run through December 23. Further updates on the 2020 Zia Park racing schedule will be provided as they are made available.
"Current training days and hours of operation will remain in effect."
Zia Park opened its current meet Oct. 5 and had 36 days of racing on the schedule.
In a release from the governor's office, Grisham said the restrictions were necessary due to unsustainable rates of COVID-19 infections and hospitals throughout the state approaching or exceeding capacity for bed availability and staffing.
New Mexico's rolling seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases is 1,012, and total COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state have risen at least 214% over the past four weeks. New Mexico recorded 182 COVID-19 deaths over the past two weeks, a state record during the pandemic.
"We had hoped targeted crackdowns, limited hours of operation, and amplified messaging and enforcement would make the difference and slow the spread and relieve our hospitals," Lujan Grisham said in the state's press release. "The public health data make clear, however, that more aggressive restrictions are not only warranted but essential if we are to prevent mass casualties."