CNMI moving closer to 'normalcy'

Updated: Jun 18

Vulnerability level moves to green, curfew lifted, businesses resume normal hours of operation

Same-day vaccinations are available at different locations in the CNMI. Photo courtesy of the Office of the CNMI Governor/Facebook

Saipan— Beginning today, the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands moves to community vulnerability level from blue to green, which entails partial lifting of coronavirus-related restrictions.


Gov. Ralp Torres has lifted curfew hours and allowed businesses to resume their pre-Covid hours of operations effective today.


“For more than a year, the challenge of keeping everyone safe was not easy, but together we successfully made the CNMI one of the safest places in the world, and it is recognized by our federal partners, our source markets, and our regional counterparts,”Torres said.

Since Sep 6, 2020, the CNMI observed curfew hours from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. and required businesses to reduce their hours to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19 within the community.

Although social activities are allowed to resume with caution, health authorities advised residents to continue practicing safety measures.


“Let us continue to be vigilant and safe and work together as we move forward in this next step toward true normalcy,” the governor said.


As of June 17, the CNMI has vaccinated 25,435 individuals or 60 percent of the 12-year-old and older population. At least 72.7 percent of the CNMI adult population have received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine and 66.4 of the 12 and older population received their first dose.


“With the milestone achievements of fully vaccinated CNMI residents, I want to reassure you that our priority has not changed with this new guideline,” said Esther L. Muña, CEO of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.


“I urge all organization leaders to continue to exercise caution with this new normal and that if you’re unsure of the vaccine status, then strengthen your safety measures to protect those who have not had their Covid-19 vaccines or who might have a health condition that makes them vulnerable to severe coronavirus infection,” she added.


Muna encouraged those who have not received their vaccines to come forward and help the community achieve herd immunity by getting 80 percent of the population vaccinated.


CNMI officials said Covid cases are continuously detected and contained at the CNMI’s ports of entry.


The CNMI’s total cases as of June 17, 2021, is 183 with an overall positivity rate of 0.1 percent, far below most other U.S. jurisdictions. Since the first detection of Covid-19, the CNMI recorded two deaths and four hospitalizations.


While the CNMI did not have an official mask mandate, guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the CHCC, and the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force emphasized the importance of the 3Ws of wearing a mask, washing hands, and watching your distance successfully to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.


Current guidance from CDC emphasizes that if one is fully vaccinated, masks are to be worn when required by the location or jurisdiction.


However, officials acknowledged that determining who is vaccinated can be difficult and hence the need to keep some restrictions until CNMI reaches herd immunity.


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Based on the CNMI’s color code, the green level-60 percent vaccination rate means:


· Fully vaccinated people are able to participate in outdoor and indoor activities, in accordance with CDC guidelines.


· Unvaccinated individuals should remain cautious and continue to wear face masks and practice social distancing at all times, especially when in the company of others who are not vaccinated and those whose vaccinations cannot be verified


· All entities are permitted up to 100 percent occupancy if vaccination completion is verifiable, and 75 percent if not verifiable.


· Entities should enforce social distancing precautions and promote the wearing of face masks, when vaccinations are not verified or when customers are from a different household.


· Community events are under strict social distancing parameters and reduced occupancy if vaccinations are not verifiable.


· Indoor gatherings of people from different households of less than 150 people are permitted throughout the Commonwealth if vaccination completion is not verifiable.


· Indoor/Outdoor gatherings of 100 percent fully vaccinated individuals are permitted throughout the Commonwealth and as long as vaccination is verifiable.


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