Heading to New Mexico for some snow this winter? There seems to be a battle brewing between the state’s ski resorts and the Governor.
The Governor of New Mexico instituted a mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitors from out of state. Ski resorts in the state say they can’t, and won’t, abide by the Governor’s order. Where’s the disconnect?
New Mexico ski resorts say the Governor’s mandatory quarantine is unenforceable due to federal anti-discrimination laws. Almost all of New Mexico’s ski resorts are located on federal land and indicate that they can’t discriminate based on where a visitor is from. With 35% of their visitors from out of state, I can see why New Mexico’s ski resorts don’t want to cut off a significant source of their business.
Here are several responses from parties vested in the anti-discrimination issue:
George Brooks, Executive Director of Ski New Mexico
“We do want to follow the states guideline’s and we will do that. However, it becomes very suspect for us to at the ticket window or as people arrive for then to check ID’s, I mean you can’t even check ID’s when you go to vote. So, I think people would be a little concerned if we started checking ID’s at the ticket window.”
“A few years ago we wanted to do a local’s day where we were going to give a significant discount on lift tickets to New Mexico residents and we were not allowed to do that, from the federal government because they considered it discrimination”
New Mexico Governor’s Office
“While New Mexico ski areas may be located on federal land, they are not federal entities, they are businesses located in and licensed by the state of New Mexico and are required to adhere to the rules and restrictions set by the state.”
U.S Forest Service
“While the Forest Service is not an enforcement agency for the quarantine order for the state of New Mexico, the state of New Mexico and the corresponding authorities can still enforce state orders on federal land which would include Ski Areas that hold Ski Area Special Use Permits such as the areas you mentioned. The Forest Service strongly encourages that everyone following the guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control and all New Mexico state health orders.”
While most of New Mexico’s ski resorts have released Covid-19 focused winter operating plans, it doesn’t appear most will be following the Governor’s order. As ski season fast approaches, I’m sure this won’t be that last time we’ll be hearing about this from the Land of Enchantment.