LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Many municipal employees of New Mexico's second most populous city who have worked remotely during the pandemic are back at their regular work sites.

Most city workers were deemed essential and worked on site during the pandemic, but up to 40% of the work force had been working remotely, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.

That changed in the past week when employees were ordered to return to in-person work under a phase-in approach that has returning employees working on site at least three days a week.

The city cited Dona Ana County's declining daily coronavirus case numbers and increasing vaccinations against COVID-19.

In another change, an “extraordinary leave” policy enacted at the city last March to grant employees up to 15 days of paid leave during emergencies has been rescinded.