With COVID-19 restrictions relaxed, Eddy County resumes local events

Felicia Velasquez (left) and Pastor Dan Phelps prepare for the 109th May Day Breakfast at First Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Artesia on April 30, 2021. Church members were not sure if the breakfast would be held this year due to COVID-19.

Loosening COVID-19 restrictions in Eddy County meant numerous local events were allowed to resume after a year of virtual gatherings or outright cancellations. 

Eddy County was one of 24 counties across New Mexico to move to the Turquoise category on Friday after the State of New Mexico updated key health metrics used to assign risk levels to counties under the Red-Yellow-Green COVID-19 framework now in effect, read a news release from the Office of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. 

Turquoise is assigned to counties with the lowest risk of infections, and brings with it the least restrictive policies. 

As of Friday, six counties were at the Green Level, and three were at yellow, meaning 24 of New Mexico’s 33 counties were at the least restrictive levels.  

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Lower risk meant communities throughout the counties were allowed to resume local events as restrictions on public gatherings were relaxed. 

Last year, COVID-19 wiped out a longstanding Eddy County breakfast and organizers were not sure if it would happen this year.

A sign leads people to the drive thru section of Artesia's First Evangelical Presbyterian Church on April 30, 2021. Church officials were not sure if their May Day Breakfast would happen this year due to COVID-19.

But on Friday, Artesia’s First Evangelical Presbyterian Church hosted the 109th May Day Breakfast. Pastor Dan Phelps said the church decided to move on after COVID-19 cancelled last year’s version.

“It’s not consecutive if you count last year. We couldn’t have it (the 108th breakfast) because of COVID-19. We’re just kind of ignoring that one,” he said.

Phelps said church members were cautious when it came to this year’s breakfast after Eddy County went back to Turquoise Friday following Lujan Grisham’s announcement Wednesday that COVID-19 health orders in New Mexico would be relaxed.