• By Pacific island Times News Staff

CNMI lifts restrictions; residents advised to remain vigilant


Gov. Ralph Torres

Saipan-- CNMI Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres announced that the temporary restrictions on in-person interactions, social gathering and business hours, which began on Aug. 24, expired Sunday, Sept. 6.

The CNMI officially returns to Community Vulnerability Level BLUE on Monday.

“I want to thank all of our federal and local partners, our businesses, and everyone who calls the Marianas home for being with us in our efforts to keep our community safe from Covi-19. It has not been easy this year, but we can be proud knowing that the CNMI is one of the safest places in the world. Let’s continue to be vigilant and work together,” Torres said.

The CNMI had a total Covid-19 case count to 57 cases since March 28. The most recent case was reported on Sept. 1, involving a sailor deployed to Tinian from Guam as part of a team of the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (Seabees) supporting a survey for the Tinian port construction project.

Since January, the Torres-Palacios administration through the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force and the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation has implemented strict, but necessary constraints on activities throughout the Commonwealth in an effort to prevent and control the spread of coronavirus throughout the CNMI community.

According to the governor's office, due in large part to the proactive implementation of these risk mitigation measures, the continued success of the CNMI’s Covid-19 preventative measures at the borders, as well as the cooperation of the community in adhering to guidance from CNMI health officials, the CNMI has been able to contain community transmission.

These last two weeks of temporary restrictions have been used to determine how widespread community transmission is within the CNMI and to prevent further spread of the virus.

The government commended residents for following public health guidance but reminded them to be vigilant and to not have our guard down.

Curfew is now back to regular hours, 2 a.m. to 4 a.m., but exceptions remain for first responders on duty as well as employees returning from work and persons going to or returning from admission to the CHCC hospital or completion of treatment such as hemodialysis.

● Penalties for violating Curfew mandates

o First-time offense violators found in public, including individuals found driving on a public road, outside of the curfew hours will be subject to a fine of $200;

o Second-time offense violators found in public, including individuals found driving on public roads, outside of the curfew hours will be subject to a fine of $500;

o Third-time or more offense violators found in public, including individuals found driving on public roads, outside of the curfew hours will be subject to a fine of $750 and/or the impound of his/her vehicle by the Department of Public Safety;

o Each passenger in a vehicle found driving on a public road outside of the curfew hours will be subject to the following fines:

▪ $100 for a first-time offense;

▪ $200 for a second-time offense;

▪ $300 for a third-time or more offense.

Gatherings of no more than 25 people in a single room or single space are permitted.

Church services must limit attendance to 75 percent of allowed occupancy and maintain social distancing and sanitation guidelines.

All businesses, including restaurants, that have facilities open to the general public may be open to the public from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. Occupancy limit is 75 percent.

Restaurants and bars are required to implement social distancing parameters, conduct temperature screening of all employees and patrons prior to entering the establishment. For patrons, establishments must document patrons' name, phone number in a log which must be accessible to CNMI officials. Employees and patrons are required to continue wearing masks.

Gas stations are permitted to open to the public between 5 a.m. to 1 a.m.

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All gaming, facilities remain closed "except if authorized to operate under an approved reopening plan by the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force and CHCC."

The Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force, in coordination with and with the assistance of the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Commerce, Alcohol Beverage & Tobacco Control Division, the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, and any other necessary Commonwealth agency, shall enforce business hours and social distancing requirements. Failure to follow will subject the violator to penalties available under the law or to the following:

● First-time offense violators will be subject to immediate closure of their business establishment for a period up to one month;

● Second-time offense violators will be subject to immediate closure of their business establishment for a period up to six months;

● Third-time or more offense violators will be subject to immediate closure of their business establishment for a period up to one year.

All public parks, public pathways, and public beaches are open for all recreational activities and social gatherings, subject to the social distancing requirements regarding gatherings (no more than 25 people) and curfew mandate mentioned above.

● The Grotto remains closed.

● Mañagaha Island is open for recreation and gatherings, so long as social distancing requirements are implemented for both transport vessels and on-island activities.

o Transport vessels must be subject to constant and consistent disinfection. This section will be enforced by the Department of Public Lands (DPL).

All public and private schools in the Commonwealth are permitted to resume in-person instruction and activities, subject to the review and approval of operational plans and site assessments by the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force, DPW, and CHCC.

All schools, both public and private, across the Commonwealth, are encouraged to facilitate alternative modes of education, such as distance learning through online means or a hybrid of both in-person and online learning.

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