County, LANL Back To Wearing Masks Indoors


Los Alamos County Manager Steven Lynne issued an update Monday on County practices related to the COVID-19 pandemic indicating that the County is establishing new mask guidelines for indoor public settings.

Lynne said that as been the case throughout the pandemic, the County continues to follow the State Public Health Order, which now refers to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.

“The CDC is tracking the level of community transmission and is recommending that, in order to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, everyone should wear a mask indoors if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission,” Lynne said. “While Los Alamos is currently only at a moderate level of transmission, our area, including all adjacent counties, is at a substantial transmission level.”

He noted that County employees come from many different communities and that a significant number of these communities have substantial and/or high COVID-19 transmission rates. 

Lynne said the County is establishing the following new mask guidelines for indoor public settings:

  1. All unvaccinated people must wear a face mask covering their mouth and nose at all times in all indoor County facilities.
  2. All fully vaccinated people must wear a face mask covering their mouth and nose when indoors inside a County facility, except that fully vaccinated people may remove their face mask while indoors if they are alone in an office, or other area, and/or there is a minimum of 6 feet of distance between them and the nearest person.

“To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, please continue to follow COVID-Safe Practices (CSPs) such as proper hand washing, good hygiene, regularly disinfecting high-touch surfaces, social distancing, and staying home when ill.  If you are not already fully vaccinated, please consider getting vaccinated as soon as possible,” Lynne said. “We are still asking all of our employees to use the Self-Checklist before reporting to work to identify any symptoms that might indicate COVID-19. In addition, both our transit services and senior services are still subject to other, more stringent, federal guidelines.”

Los Alamos National Laboratory employees are back to wearing masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Lab spokesman Kevin Roark said in an email Monday that the recent, rapid spread of the highly-transmissible delta variant that causes COVID-19 is leading to increased hospitalizations and deaths nationwide and in the state of New Mexico.

“Vaccination continues to be our primary strategy to defeat COVID-19. Following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and consistent with our commitment to the health and safety of our workforce, we have implemented a policy to require masks for all workers on-site while indoors,” Roark said.

N3B spokesperson Kristin Henderson said Monday thay N3B continues to closely monitor the dynamic COVID pandemic situation to ensure their policies and practices are appropriate and focus on the safety and wellbeing of their employees and subcontractors and their families.

“Out of an abundance of caution and concern for the N3B workforce, and based on CDC guidance, N3B is moving to a face covering requirement for all staff, visitors and subcontractors, regardless of vaccination status, while onsite in all indoor areas or while performing activities that require close contact,” Henderson said.

Los Alamos Public Schools Interim Supt. Jennifer Guy has indicated that LAPS is awaiting guidance from the Public Education Department as district staff return to work later this week.