CNMI government adjusts store hours for retail establishments

(PNC file photo)

Following the announcement of its first two COVID-19 cases on Saturday, the CNMI Government also announced adjusted store hours for grocery stores and retail establishments starting Sunday, March 29.

CNMI Governor Ralph DLG Torres announced that all grocery stores will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. under the conditions that social distancing is strictly implemented.

Last week, the government issued the “Enhanced Social Distancing Directive” to limit public gatherings of people and to prevent potential public exposure of residents to the virus.

Among its provisions is the limiting of operations of some businesses in the CNMI from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Businesses that are open to the general public are covered by this directive.

The Governor’s announcement last night meant grocery and retail establishments are not covered by the strict operating hours under the directive.

According to a release from the Governor’s office, grocery stores and retail establishments must post “one-way” flow signs for the entrance and exit; maintain crowd control, and; ensure there are visible customer line-up markers that are 6 ft. apart from the cashier counter.

Retail establishments must also regularly clean and sanitize areas and surfaces. These establishments are also ordered to limit their capacity to half of their permitted occupancy number.

“The CNMI Department of Commerce, in coordination with the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force and CHCC, will enforce the social distancing requirement stated (above) at stores and retail establishments. Failure to comply with such requirements will result in the closure of the establishment until such time that all deficiencies have been corrected,” the release stated.

Here’s the release from the CNMI Office of the Governor:

2 confirmed cases and hrs for groceries stores adjusted