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  • By Pacific island Times News Staff

CNMI reopens economy

Saipan-- Businesses in the CNMI may now operate 12 hours a day following Gov. Ralph Torres' move Monday to flash the "yellow" signal that indicates gradual reopening of the commonwealth's economy.

In line with approved guidance by the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. (CHCC) and community-based testing data by the governor’s Covid -19 Task Force, Torres announced that the CNMI can now responsibly initiate the next phase in the implementation of its Economic Recovery Plan from community vulnerability level “red.”

However, business establishments are mandated to limit occupancy to 50 percent in accordance with supplemental regulatory guidance set by the CHCC and the Department of Public Works Building Code.

In Community Vulnerability Level “yellow" testing has become widespread, but efforts to promote testing among community organizations, businesses and households continues.

“Yellow” represents the midway point of phasing schedule and creates the opportunity to assess the levels of positive cases for possible reversion of restrictions if positive cases exceeds previously stated thresholds. If present forecasts for testing remain stable, “Yellow” would align with the peak number of cases under current estimates by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Center for Diseases Control Center.

Under the CNMI Economic Recovery Plan, community vulnerability level “yellow” means all businesses that have facilities open to the general public are now open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.


Business are required to post a “one-way” flow signs for entrance and “one-way” flow signs for exit; maintain crowd control; make hand a sanitizer station available on entry and on exit; and provide methods to ensure protective barriers between worker and customer such as face shields and plexiglass barrier at customer counters. Businesses are required to ensure there are visible customer lineup markers that are six feet apart leading to the cashier counter.

Church and worship services are now allowed to commence, but with attendance limit at 25 of allowed occupancy and maintain social distancing and sanitation guidelines.

Gyms are permitted to open under strict social distancing and sanitation guidelines.

• Hotels, tour operators and tourism industry stakeholders may begin preparations for thermal monitoring and establish internal standard operating procedures for mitigating risk in preparation for tourist arrivals alongside public health officials.

• Preparations among tourism operators may continue in anticipation of the resumption of flights and guidance should be sought to federal officials on the steps necessary to resume international flights clean all surfaces; sanitize main entrance door handles; sanitize handles of shopping baskets and shopping carts after each use; sanitize handles for chill boxes, coolers and freezers.


Some facilities, however, remain closed.

• All public parks including the Grotto remain closed to the public.

• Mañagaha Island is now open to public so long as social distancing requirements are implemented for both transport vessels and on-island activities. Transport vessels must be subject to constant and consistent disinfection.

• All public beaches and pathways are closed to all activities except for public use for purposes of exercise and wellness, both physical and mental, and shoreline subsistence fishing such as talåya, rod and reel, and commercial fishing activities, subject to the social distancing requirements stated in these Covid-19 emergency directives.

* Provided further that exercise, wellness and shoreline subsistence and commercial fishing activities are only allowed from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

• All businesses engaged in recreational or amusement type activities and gaming, including the casino, video poker establishments and e-gaming facilities, remain closed to the public.

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