New Mexico ads ask visitors to comply with virus safeguards

July 7, 2020 GMT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico State Tourism Department has published advertisements informing residents of neighboring states that visitors should comply with New Mexico’s rules regarding masks and travel.

The advertisements in six newspapers in Texas and Arizona include iconic New Mexico images and letters explaining New Mexico has different rules than the other two states.

The tourism department spent $67,000 on the full-page advertisements in major newspapers in Phoenix and Tucson in Arizona and in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas in Texas.

“We ask you, as one of our closest neighbors, to join us in making the promise. It’s nothing complicated, just a few simple guidelines like social distancing and wearing a face mask,” the advertisements said.

Tourism department spokesman Cody Johnson said Texas and Arizona were targeted because the states recently have experienced surges in COVID-19 infection rates.

“We just wanted to find an opportunity to share that information with the traveling public in our neighboring states,” Johnson said.

The ads ran July 3 and 5, but are unlikely to be published again, Johnson said.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.